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F. G. S., F. R. S. E. 




Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh. 


IH A D long entertained a wish to write a history of 
my native county, but the obligations of a busy life, 
independently of other reasons, postponed the under- 
taking until, after an absence of six -and -thirty years, 
I returned to dwell amidst scenes, of which I had 
treasured up some recollections and traditions. 

I was not without an excuse for having formed this 
desire. The only available book on the subject was the 
Description of Tweeddale, by Dr Alexander Pennicuik 
of Romanno, issued originally in 1715, and re-issued 
with notes in 1815, by the late Mr Brown of Newhall. 
Besides being out of date, Pennicuik's work, though in 
many respects curious and valuable, is little else than 
a topographic and botanical recital. After making a 
survey of the county in 1775, Captain Armstrong issued 
his Companion to the Map of Tweeddale, but this tract, 
while embracing some useful facts, is also chiefly topo- 
graphic, and has been long out of sight. The next 
book concerning the shire, was a General View of the 
Agriculture of tlie County of Peebles, by the Rev. Charles 
Findlater, minister of Newlands, issued in 1802. Find- 


later, a man of enlarged views and genial temperament, 
has presented an interesting account of rural progress 
until his own day, but necessarily abstains from matters 
of an historical character. 

The attempt to compose a history, along with a 
general description of the county, has not been unat- 
tended with difficulties. Forming a secluded moun- 
tainous territory, Peeblesshire, though not distant from 
the centre of public affairs, is scarcely noticed in general 
Scottish history. Materials for a narrative of events 
require to be sought for almost entirely in original 
sources. For several years, accordingly, I have enjoyed 
the pleasant occupation of digging into old records, and 
thence drawing to the light of day such facts as bore on 
the raids, fightings, feuds, slaughters, and other lively 
occurrences of the period, when lairds lived in castles and 
cared very little for either law or government when 
bailies and burgesses, emulating their betters, settled dis- 
putes by an appeal to " Jeddart staffs" and " whingers" 
and when, seemingly, the only local tribunal that inspired 
terror, or secured prompt obedience, was the parish kirk- 
session. The following are the Records which have 
proved serviceable as concerns these and other illustra- 
tions of a past condition of society : The Records of the 
Privy or Secret Council of Scotland ; the Books of Ad- 
journal (Records of Justiciary) ; the Records of the 
Justices of Peace for the sheriffdom f Peebles ; the 
Valuation Rolls of the same sheriffdom ; the Records of 
the Convention of Royal Burghs ; the Records of the 


Royal Burgh of Peebles ; the Records of the Presbytery 
of Peebles ; and the Records of the Kirk-Sessions of the 
several parishes in Peeblesshire. As will be seen, I 
have been particularly indebted to that invaluable and 
too little explored repository of facts, the Records of the 
Privy Council. What this august body had to do with 
Peeblesshire, becomes only very obvious, when we call to 
mind that it indulgently heard complaints from every- 
body about everything, from a case of homicide to a 
debt of a few merks from an act of rebellion to a 
quarrel between husband and wife ; a comprehensiveness 
of jurisdiction, during the old Scottish monarchy, of which 
some notable examples have already been presented in 
my brother's Domestic Annals. 

Believing that few subjects are more distasteful to 
general readers than topography, I have, while shunning 
minute detail, resorted to the expedient of telling the story 
of estates in connection with the families who have succes- 
sively possessed them ; or, in other words, endeavoured 
to describe the county through the palatable medium of 
anecdotic family history. Should this be deemed a 
scarcely satisfactory method of procedure, there is this 
to be said in its favour, that it enables a writer to shew 
how, through the expenditure of capital and exercise of 
taste, the naturally bleak lands of Scotland have been 
transformed during the last seventy or eighty years into 
a condition of beauty, fertility, and high commercial 
value. For facts in this department, I have, of course, 
had to rely mainly on private papers ; and for the liberal 


manner in which my neighbours have opened their 
charter-chests for an examination of these documents, I 
now tender my best acknowledgments. 

The accounts of local antiquities, including the nume- 
rous and interesting British hill-forts in Peeblesshire, are 
from personal inspection during the summer of 1863. 
For communications on rural and general progress, 
also on the geology and natural history of the county, I 
have been indebted to individuals who have kindly taken 
an interest in my undertaking. 

I may confidently say that neither trouble nor expense 
has been spared on the maps and wood engravings with 
which the volume is illustrated, and I am hopeful that 
these embellishments will help to brighten up a narrative 
too apt to be dull. All the sketches have been taken by 
artists specially for the work, and may be relied on for 
their accuracy. 

The abbreviations employed are, P. C. R., for Privy 
Council Records; P. R., Presbytery Records; J. P. R., 
Justice of Peace Records; C. R., Convention of Royal 
Burghs Records ; B. R., Burgh Records of Peebles ; and 

K. S. R., Kirk-Session Records. 

W. C. 

GLENORMISTON, i6th May 1864. 


Subject Illustrated. 


with corrections ..... o 


VIGNETTE Sheep of Peeblesshire ... . . . 17 

STONE HAMMER ...... i . 20 

STONE AXE 2 . 20 

QUERN 3. 21 

STONE MORTAR ...... 4.22 

BRACELET 5 . 22 


ROMAN CAMP AT LYNE in its original form . . 7 . 25 

ROMAN CAMP AT LYNE in its mutilated state . 8 . 26 

MILKISTON RINGS, present state . . . 9 . 32 

MILKISTON RINGS, original form . . . 10 . 33 





ROMANNO TERRACES . . - * . . 15 . 42 

VIGNETTE Seal of Archbishop of Glasgow . . . 45 

VIGNETTE Figures of two Red Friars . . . . 54 

VIGNETTE Old Armour . 61 

CARDRONA TOWER, in ruins . . . . 16 71 

DOOR OF A BASTEL-HOUSE, Peebles ... . 17 . 72 


Subject Illustrated. FIG. PAGE 

JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND . . . . . 18 . 74 



DRUMMELZIER CASTLE, in ruins . . . . 21 . 95 

DROCHILL CASTLE, in ruins . . . . 22 . 107 


HORSBRUGH CASTLE, in ruins (1856). . . 24 . 128 

VIGNETTE Border raid .144 

NEIDPATH CASTLE, eastern aspect . . . 25 . 157 

MAP OF THE COUNTY, as surveyed in 1608 . . . .181 

TRAQUAIR HOUSE, front view . . . . 26 . 182 

VIGNETTE Figure of Hon. General Douglas . . .206 

now an Inn . . . . . . 27 .219 

VIGNETTE Duke of Queensberry's coach . . . .229 

VIGNETTE View of Peebles . . . . . .256 

BURGH SEAL 28 . 260 

CROSS OF PEEBLES, 1699 29 . 261 

JOHN JAMESON, a mendicant fiddler . . . 30 . 273 

CHAMBERS INSTITUTION, front view . . . 31 .280 

Institution 32 . 282 

LIBRARY AND READING ROOM, Chambers Institution 33 . 283 


THE YETT, entrance to Cross Keys Inn . . 35 . 286 




Rums OF THE CROSS CHURCH . 39 295 

VIGNETTE Doorway to the Green . . . . -315 

CREST OF THE LORDS YESTER, Neidpath Castle . 40 . 318 


Subject Illustrated. 



NEIDPATH CASTLE, southern aspect . 










1 20 



-. 33i 







DARN HALL ...... 


3 e? 







- 363 




VIGNETTE Eddleston Water . 



OLD BRIDGE, Innerleithen . . . 


. 368 



- 374 



- 376 






. 380 

VIGNETTE St Mary's Cottage, Yarrow 


. 381 




OLD GATEWAY, Traquair House 












VIGNETTE Wading Tweed on Stilts . 

. ' 


; 62 



. 63 








TOMBSTONE, Piers Cockbum's Grave . 










Subject Illustrated. FIG. PAGE 

RUINS OF TINNIES CASTLE ... . . 69 . 421 


POLMOOD IN RUINS . .- . . . 71 426 


STANDING-STONE, Tweedsmuir . . . . 73 .430 


JOUGS, Doorway of Stobo Church . . . 75 .435 







NETHER URD 82 457 

LADY GIFFORD'S WELL, Linton ... 83 . 460 

MEDWYN HOUSE 84 . 467 

GARVALD HOUSE . . . . . . 85 . 469 



CALLANDS HOUSE . . . . . . 88 .474 

SCOTSTON . . . . . . 89 . 476 

ROMANNO HOUSE . . . . . . 90 .479 

OLD CHURCH OF NEWLANDS, in ruins . . 91 .487 

HALMYRE HOUSE .',.... 92 497 





VIGNETTE Girl wading Eddleston Water . . . -513 


VIGNETTE Game, Peeblesshire . . . . . -53 




PEEBLESSHIRE, one of the smaller counties of Scotland, 
lying near the Border, so called from its royal burgh, is 
bounded by Dumfries and Selkirk shires on the south, 
Lanarkshire or Clydesdale on the west, Mid-Lothian or Edin- 
burghshire on the north, and Selkirkshire on the east. Irregular 
in outline, particularly in the east, the shire extends from north 
to south twenty-nine miles ; its greatest breadth is twenty-one 
miles, and its least breadth nine and a half miles. The county 
contains 226,899.206 acres of land, and 969.633 acres of water 
total, 227,868.839 acres, or 356 square miles. Its lowest point 
above the mean level of the sea is about 450 feet, from which to 
about 1 200 feet is the region of cultivation. The hills generally 
rise to a height of from goo to 1500 feet. According to the 
Ordnance Survey, the greatest altitude attained within the 
county is 2754 feet, which is the height of Broad Law, in the 
district of Megget. Peebles, occupying an alluvial plateau at 
the height of 550 feet above the sea, is situated in 55 39' 5" 
north latitude, and 3 n' 15" longitude west of Greenwich. 


Consisting mainly of the upper part of the valley of the 
Tweed, the county is variously and more familiarly known as 
TWEEDDALE, a designation which, in its old form of Tuedal, is 
sometimes assigned to it in state documents and historical writings 
in past times. Environed by mountain-ranges, and anciently 
bounded on its eastern frontier by the thickets of Ettrick Forest, 
Tweeddale long possessed a character of seclusion not to be 
expected from its near neighbourhood to the busy scenes of Mid- 
Lothian. Although neither very lofty nor striking in outline, the 
hills of Peeblesshire constitute a wild and pleasing pastoral region, 
intersected with alluvial vales, each watered by its tributary 
streamlet, gathered from innumerable rills which gurgle in sweet 
solitude down the recesses of the mountain-slopes. Excepting 
the Medwin Water, in the north-west, which runs towards the 
Clyde, and the North Esk, which, rising in the north-east, flows 
towards the Forth, also some lesser rivulets, all the streams of 
Peeblesshire are tributary to the Tweed, although one of them, 
the Megget, makes a circuit by its influx into St Mary's Loch, 
the parent of the Yarrow. 

Moderate in volume seldom more than from two to four feet 
deep, or beyond sixty to eighty feet in breadth and abounding 
in rapids, Tweed is unsusceptible of navigation, and sinks in 
importance in comparison with the Tay and some other rivers 
in the north ; but, independently of the celebrity gained by 
its natural qualities, it has acquired distinction by forming the 
line of boundary between England and Scotland in the lower 
part of its course. 

The source of the Tweed is found in the parish of Tweeds- 
muir, in the western part of the county, about 1300 feet above 
the level of the sea, where it rises at the base of a hilly range, 
from the further sides of which spring the rivers Annan and 
Clyde. Hence, the popular, though not quite correct rhyme : 

' Annan, Tweed, and Clyde 
Rise a' out o' ae hill-side. ' 

A small fountain, usually considered to be ' the head of 


Tweed/ at the base of a hill called Tweed's Cross, and named 
Tweed's Well, gives forth a small rivulet, which flows in a north- 
easterly direction, through the parish of Tweedsmuir, receiving 
on each side various tributary streams, including the Fruid and 
the Talla. From Tweedsmuir, the Tweed takes a northern 
course to Drummelzier, where it receives the Powsail and the 
united streams of Holms, Kilbucho, and Biggar, and forms the 
boundary of the parish of Glenholm. It next intersects Stobo 
parish, and then receives the Lyne, a stream augmented by the 
Tarth and some rivulets in the north-western part of the county. 
United with the Lyne, the Tweed pursues its way in an easterly 
direction, which, with few exceptions, it ever afterwards main- 
tains. About a mile and a half below its junction with the 
Lyne, Manor Water joins it on the right, and proceeding through 
a gorge at Neidpath, arrives at Peebles, twenty-five miles from 
its source. At Peebles, the Tweed receives Eddleston Water on 
the left ; after which, proceeding through the parish of Peebles, 
Soonhope Burn falls into it on the left, and Haystoun Burn on 
the right ; it next separates the parishes of Innerleithen and 
Traquair, receiving several dashing small burns in its course. 
Near Innerleithen, it is augmented by the Quair on the right, 
and the Leithen on the left Below Innerleithen, it receives the 
Walker Burn on the left ; two miles further down, it is joined on 
the left by Gatehope Burn, which here forms the boundary of 
the county ; after which it holds on its course amidst the hills of 
Selkirkshire, emerging a short way below the Yair, on the more 
open and rich valley adorned by Abbotsford, Melrose, and 

At this point, the Tweed receives, first, the Ettrick, which has 
been previously augmented by the Yarrow, and then the Gala, 
where it enters Roxburghshire, becoming now a river of more 
imposing dimensions, with banks more level than in the upper 
part of its course. Before leaving the rich vale of Melrose, the 
Tweed is joined by the Leader on its left bank, which is the only 
tributary of any note till it is increased by the Teviot on the 
right, near Kelso. The Teviot is the largest tributary of the 


Tweed in its whole course, and almost doubles it in size. Passing 
Kelso on the left, and flowing majestically onward, it receives 
the Eden Water, and soon after enters the level district of the 
Merse, which it separates from Northumberland on the south. 
At Coldstream, the Leet falls into it on the Scottish side ; and 
from two to three miles further down, on the English side, it 
is increased by the sluggish waters of the Till. Some miles 
further on, it receives the Scottish river Whitadder, a large 
stream previously augmented by the Blackadder ; and shortly 
afterwards, passing the ancient town of Berwick-on-Tweed on its 
left, its waters are poured into the German Ocean. 

From head to foot, the Tweed is computed to drain 1870 
square miles. Through Peeblesshire, it has a course of forty-one 
miles ; Selkirkshire, nine miles ; Roxburghshire, nearly thirty 
miles ; and along Berwickshire, somewhat more than twenty-two 
miles ; making a total of 102 to 103 miles in length. Its fall 
from its source to Peebles is about 800 feet ; and from Peebles to 
Berwick, 500 feet ; or, reckoning its entire course, it has an 
average fall of thirteen feet per mile. Being undisturbed 
by traffic on its surface, and but slightly adulterated by liquid 
refuse from towns and manufactories, as well as possessing, in 
general, a pure gravelly bottom, its waters, except during 
floods, are remarkably clear and sparkling. Until compar- 
atively recent times, occasional heavy falls of rain kept the 
river flooded for days, when it formed a broad sheet of turbid 
water, often destructive to the crops on its more level banks ; 
but now, from the general practice of draining, falls of rain 
are carried rapidly off, and if the river suddenly rises, it as 
suddenly subsides, rarely causing any serious injury during these 
paroxysms. For a long time, the Tweed was crossed by only 
two bridges one at Peebles, and the other at Berwick ; but now 
it has several stone and other bridges, besides railway viaducts. 
Within Peeblesshire, it has some convenient fords, passable in 
ordinary states of the river. 

The Vale of Tweed is generally of a pleasing sylvan character, 
the hills being never far from the banks of the river, while the 


eminences and lower lands are frequently clothed by woods and 
plantations. As the ground recedes from the stream, except in 
the lower part of its course, the country becomes wild and 
pastoral, and rises into such elevations as equally to shut out 
Lothian on the north, and Dumfriesshire on the south. Though 
constituting part of what are sometimes called the Southern 
Highlands, Peeblesshire is not rugged, or, strictly speaking, 
picturesque. Its hills are, with few exceptions, rounded and 
soft in outline ; nor does its geological formation admit of 
many shelving precipices or deep dells ; yet the descents are in 
some places abrupt, and clothed in natural shrubbery. 

With its rounded grassy hills, offering the finest sheep-pasture, 
its alluvial vales, and clear streams, the county is free of any 
properties detrimental to general salubrity. With the absence 
of stagnant pools or unwholesome marshes is now to be remarked 
a high degree of improvement by the reclamation of waste lands 
and subsoil drainage, resulting in a singular lightness and dryness 
of atmosphere. Pennicuik refers to the want of timber, and the 
little planting to be seen in Tweeddale, but even at the time he 
wrote, planting had begun, and it was carried on to such an 
extent in the early part of the present century as may now be 
considered excessive, though in all cases adding to the beauty 
of the landscape. 

Peeblesshire has gone through the several well-known social 
phases common to the south of Scotland gradually shaken off 
its primitive Celtic character, been Anglicised by processes after- 
wards to be described, and passing through the broils of an 
unsettled age, has by a series of developments attained to a 
condition no way differing from that of the more advanced parts 
of the Lothians. Its people are essentially of the Scottish Low- 
land type, with the character and dialect appropriate to a variety 
of the Anglo-Saxon race. The intonation of their speech, 
however, is peculiar. It is less soft and flexible than the 
speech of Selkirk or Roxburgh shires, and is marked by a strange 
aspirate or elevation of voice at the end of the sentences. It 
may also be remarked that, in Peeblesshire, it is not common, as 


in other parts of Lowland Scotland, to convert terminations of 
ay into a , as awa' for away; and two is here pronounced, not 
twa but tway, recalling the German zwey. For a, in some words, 
e is substituted ; dark and park, for example, being pronounced 
derk and perk. 

Pennicuik remarks that, from the purity of the air of 
Tweeddale, the inhabitants are lively, and reach to a greater 
age than elsewhere. He says : ' Few cripples or crook-backs 
are seen in the country ; but the inhabitants for the most 
part are strong, nimble, and well proportioned ; both sexes 
promiscuously being conspicuous for as comely features as 
any other country in the kingdom, would but the meaner 
sort take a little more pains to keep their bodies and dwel- 
lings neat and clean, which is too much neglected amongst 
them ; and pity it is to see a clear complexion and lovely coun- 
tenance appear with so much disadvantage through the foul 
disguise of smoke and dirt.' It is scarcely necessary to remark 
that, since the days of Pennicuik, a great improvement has taken 
place in point of personal and domestic cleanliness. The same 
author alleges that the people of Tweeddale have poor musical 
aptitudes. ' Musick, 1 he says, ' is so great a stranger to their 
temper, that you will hardly light upon one amongst six, that 
can distinguish one tune from another ; yet those of them that 
hit upon the vein, may match with the skilfullest.' As some 
relief to this assertion, we are told the people ' are more sober in 
their diet and drinking than many of the neighbouring shires, 
and when they fall into the fit of good-fellowship, they use 
it as a cement and bond of society, and not to foment or 
revenge quarrels and murders, which is too ordinary in other 

What changes Peeblesshire has in late years undergone, 
socially and physically, will afterwards appear. Provided with 
good roads throughout, the county has latterly been penetrated 
by railways in different directions; and accordingly from once 
having been one of the most isolated districts in the kingdom, it 
is now among the most accessible. Independently of its natural 


attractions, of which its angling streams are not the least prized, 
the county abounds in memorials of the past more particularly 
the hill-forts of an early British people, and those ruined feudal 
strengths of a subsequent era, which are so strikingly in contrast 
with the tasteful modern residences now spread throughout the 
county. An allusion to the gray and forlorn ruins which are 
seen on the Tweed the species of ruins signalised in the graphic 
lines of Moir : 

' Through Halls where lords and ladies swept, 
Now sweep the wind and rain ' 

reminds us that there is a charm associated with the Tweed, 
apart from any topographic peculiarity the charm of historical 
and poetical association. As the frontier of what were for ages 
two hostile kingdoms, the whole valley whence the river gathers 
its waters is the prolific scene of story and ballad literature ; and 
for the full enjoyment of the scenery, we must allow the imagin- 
ation to wander back for centuries, and be fascinated by the 
tender and chivalrous minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. Along 
with several of the lesser streams and we may name the Quair, 
Gala, Ettrick, Yarrow, Leader, and Teviot the Tweed has been 
the theme of many popular lyrics of old and modern date ; its 
simple natural beauties ever serving as the subject of poetic 


' I 've seen the morning 
With gold the hills adorning, 

And the loud tempest storming before the mid-day ; 
I 've seen Tweed's silver streams 
Glitt'ring in the sunny beams, 
Grow drumly and dark as he roll'd on his way. ' 

So sings Mrs Cockburn, 1 in her elegant modernised version of 
the Flowers of the Forest; but long previously the river had been 
the subject of the well-known canzonet, Tweedside, written, as is 
believed, by John Lord Yester, eventually second Marquis of 
Tweeddale : 

' I whistled, I piped, and I sang ; 

I wooed, but I cam nae great speed, 
Therefore I maun wander abroad, 

And lay my banes far frae the Tweed. ' 

1 This lady was a daughter of Mr Rutherford of Fernilee, Selkirkshire. 


Next, came the mellow and flowing pastorals of Crawford, 1 The 
Bush aboon Traqtiair, The Broom of the Cowdenknowes, and the 
newer version of Tweedside this last-mentioned effusion being a 
perfect warble of birds mingled with the bleating of sheep 
sounds the most prominent of all which salute the ear within 
the bounds of the county. Crawford might be said to have 
constituted himself poet-laureate of this favourite pastoral 
region, when he wrote 

' What beauties does Flora disclose, 

How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed ! 

* * * 

The warblers are heard in the grove, 

The linnet, the lark, and the thrush ; 
The blackbird, and sweet-cooing dove, 

With music enchant every bush. 
Come, let us go forth to the mead ; 

Let us see how the primroses spring ; 
We '11 lodge in some village on Tweed, 

And love while the feather'd folk sing. 

* * * 

Say, charmer, where do thy flocks stray? 

Oh, tell me at morn where they feed ? 
Shall I seek them on sweet winding Tay, 

Or the pleasanter banks of the Tweed. ' 

It cannot be mentioned without regret, that a river which has 
evoked such tender emotions, and must ever be an object of 
pleasing contemplation to the cultivated mind, should in reality 
be a source of local discord and demoralisation. We, of course, 
point to the brawls, assaults, and offences of various kinds which 
are of constant occurrence in connection with the Tweed fisheries ; 
for it might with justice be said, that the practice of illegally 
destroying salmon at seasons when it ascends the river to spawn, 
and is unfit for human food unhappily reduced to a species 
of clandestine profession leads not only to serious moral and 
economic disorder, but almost doubles the amount of crime in 
the sheriffdom. Perhaps we are entitled to add, that recent 
legislation holds out some hope of at least a certain modification 

1 Robert Crawford, second son of Patrick Crawford of Drumsoy, Renfrewshire, 
died 1732. 


of this grievous chronic evil. Leaving the subject, however, for 
future illustration, we gladly pass to other topics. 

Hitherto, chiefly pastoral and agricultural, and with manu- 
factures of comparatively recent growth, the county can boast of no 
density of population. Peebles, its ancient royal burgh, the seat 
of a sheriff and centre of local management, remains its only town, 
though Innerleithen, situated six miles lower down the Tweed, is 
rapidly growing out of the dimensions of a village. The county 
has fourteen parochial divisions, each with a kirk and settled 
minister ; but with these divisions are incorporated certain 
parishes, existing for all civil purposes. Pennicuik speaks of 
the population of the county as being in his time (1715) about 
8000, and as now, after a lapse of a hundred and fifty years, it is 
only about 12,000, we should have some grounds for surprise in 
the slowness of the increase, did we not bear in mind that the 
aggregation of small tenures into large ones, in adaptation to 
an improved rural economy, has caused a large and continuous 
stream of emigration. As long as memory reaches, whole 
families have been migrating to more eligible fields of industry; 
while it is equally certain that there are few domestic circles 
within the county which have not been thinned by the voluntary 
removal of members the young men in particular to one or 
other of the cities in the United Kingdom, or to our more distant 
colonial possessions. 


THE History of Peeblesshire, as far as it can be told, may 
properly begin with the Roman invasion of the northern 
part of Britain, at which period the country was occupied 
by a people of the same Celtic stock as those who inhabited 
the southern division of the island as well as Gaul. This people 
are now ordinarily spoken of as Britons, but the Romans gave 
them the general name, Caledonii meaning, it is supposed, 
' dwellers in woods," and further particularised the northern 
tribes, twenty-one in number, by special designations. The tribe 
of Caledonians occupying what we now call Tweeddale were 
styled by them the Gadeni ; two of the tribes who more imme- 
diately adjoined them being the Ottadini on the east and north, 
and the Selgovae on the west. The Gadeni, to call them so, 
were pagans, and barbarous in manners. They depended mainly 
on hunting and the pasturage of cattle for subsistence, dwelt 
in movable tents or shielings composed of turf, twigs, and the 
skins of wild animals, and were probably unacquainted, in the 
earlier part of their history, with implements of metal. Their 
hammers and their hatchets were chiefly of stone, and with these 
they constructed their dwellings, and fought in their savage 
encounters. When their chiefs were slain in battle, or died 
after a life of heroic exertion, it was customary to bury them 
with their war hammers and axes a practice which survived 


subsequently to the introduction of metal instruments and 
articles of personal adornment. 

Such was the people who, according to the feeble light of 
history, inhabited the vale of Tweed from a period lost in the 
darkness of antiquity. The frail habitations of this primitive 
race have been long swept away, leaving no visible trace of their 
existence ; but the names which they imparted to the hills and 
other physical features of the country, as likewise the names of 
places, still survive ; their tombs are also occasionally discovered ; 
and many hill-tops are crowned with the remains of their rudely- 
constructed forts or encampments. It is from a study of these 
varied antiquities, as well as from the casual allusions of Roman 
writers, that any knowledge is obtained respecting this early 
people ; such knowledge, however, not extending to their origin 
and early history. 

In almost every parish but more in the western than 
the eastern part of the county the very ancient graves here 
referred to have been found. They abound on the Lyne, and 
less numerously have been discovered in the parishes of Kirkurd, 
Glenholm, and Peebles. Usually, they are discovered in the 
fields bordering on streams sometimes on hillocks, but more 
frequently on level ground, where they have accidentally come 
to light in the course of tillage. Wheresoever found, these 
graves are the same in character. They consist of rude slabs of 
stone disposed in the form of a coffin ; several pieces forming the 
bottom, and as many the top and the sides. No cement had 
been employed in their construction ; and with a suitable number 
of flattish stones gathered from the nearest hillside, one of these 
tombs or cists might have been made in the space of an hour. 
They do not appear to have been placed in reference to any 
particular direction of the compass. They lie all sorts of ways. 
On being explored, these cists are for the most part seen to 
contain only a few mouldering bones, with nothing specially to 
distinguish them. In a few instances they have contained stone 
or metal weapons and ornaments, indicating the state of art 
at the period of their construction. 



Some years ago, there was found in a cist on the farm of 
Bonnington, parish of Peebles, the head of a stone hammer with 
a hole for the handle. This hammer-head differed in no respect 
from objects of a similar kind picked up elsewhere in Scotland. 
It is now in the museum at Peebles, and we give a representa- 
tion of it sidewise and in front. The weight of the article is 

about 22 ounces. 

Rude as was this species of imple- 
ment, it could not be made without 
considerable labour and ingenuity, nor, 
can we well believe, without the aid of 
metal. From recent discoveries, it is 

ascertained that there were, in different 

if places in England, manufactories of 

stone weapons, one being at Newton, 
Fig. i. Stone Hammer. j n the county of Durham, at which 
articles of this kind have been dug up in various stages 
of preparation. From these centres, the weapons would be 
dispersed by barter or otherwise over the country. 

Stone implements of a simpler kind, however, known as celts, 
chisels, or hatchets, have been found in the county, and of these 
there are several specimens in the museum at 
Peebles. They are of small size, thinner than the 
hammer-heads, and unprovided with a hole ; when 
used as an axe, they must have been held firmly 
by thongs in a cleft of the handle. In fig. 2, we 
offer a representation of one of these wedge-like 
implements, which had probably been used as a 
Fi 2 Stone Axe battle-axe, as is now customary among Polynesian 


Peeblesshire possessed the quern, or domestic hand-mill for 
grinding. As usual, this ancient utensil consisted of an upper 
and lower stone, circular in form, and ten to twenty-three inches 
in diameter. The upper was provided with an orifice in the 
centre for receiving the grain, and an aperture near the side, in 
which a stick or handle was loosely inserted, for the purpose of 


communicating a rapid motion. The lower stone, sometimes 

shaped like a dish with a raised rim, had a notch or hole in the 

side whence the meal or flour escaped. An upper stone, part of 

an ancient quern, dug up at Glenormiston, parish of Innerleithen, 

is represented in the annexed cut, fig. 3 ; it measures about 

10 inches in diameter, and weighs 27 Ibs. In this specimen, a 

hole, in which a projecting 

handle had been fixed, 

is on the side instead of 

the top a circumstance 

which leads us to think 

that two persons seated 

opposite each other, 

placed the mill between 

them, and kept it in Fi g- 3- Quern. 

motion by giving a push alternately. Such, at least, whether by 

an upright or horizontally projecting handle, appears to have 

been the method of moving domestic mills in Syria : ' Two 

women shall be grinding at the mill' (Matt. xxiv. 41). Dr 

Clarke mentions that, in travelling through Palestine, he saw 

two women so occupied. 1 What is more curious, the people of 

the Faroe Islands still use the quern, and have no other means 

of grinding their grain. 

Portable mills of this kind in use by the Roman armies, were 
called mola manuaria. As several specimens of querns have 
been found in Peeblesshire, not differing greatly from that above 
referred to, they appear to have been as common in the county 
as in other parts of Scotland, but ceased to be employed at 
a period beyond the reach of memory. Possibly they were 

1 ' The two women, seated upon the ground, opposite to each other, held between 
them the two round flat stones, such as are seen in Lapland, and such as in Scotland 
are called querns. In the centre of the upper stone was a cavity for pouring in the 
corn ; by the side of this, an upright wooden handle for moving the stone. As the opera- 
tion began, one of the women with her right hand pushed this handle to the woman 
opposite, who again sent it to her companion thus communicating a rotatory and 
rapid motion to the upper stone ; their left hands being all the while employed in 
supplying fresh corn, as fast as the bran and flour escaped from the sides of the 
machine.' Travels, iv., p. 167. 



superseded by town and village mills, but as these failed to 
meet all requirements, there was a practice of preparing a 
small quantity of meal or barley by beating grain in a hollowed 
stone, on the principle of the pestle and mortar. These stone 
mortars, known as knocking-stones, appear to have been gene- 
rally in use until comparatively recent times, for specimens 
are still seen lying about cottage-doors or built into walls. 
We give, in fig. 4, the representation of 
one which had belonged to a farmer near 

The use of metal weapons marks a 
degree of social progress and opulence, but 
as such are found in barrows no way differ- 
ing from those containing objects in stone, 
they must be accepted as belonging to the 

same people, though at a slightly advanced 
Fig. 4. Stone Mortar. period 

The metal ornaments found in the repositories of the dead 
have been mostly of that strange drawer-handle shape which, 
though at first somewhat puzzling to antiquaries, are now shewn 
to have been bracelets for the wrist. Armillae of gold have been 
brought to light in Peeblesshire, such as have been so profusely 
discovered in Ireland and in some parts of 
Scotland. But more commonly they have 
been of bronze, and are crusted with verdi- 
gris. A number of ornaments of that inferior 
kind were found in digging at Glenormiston, 
and a representation of one of them is given 
Fig- 5. Bracelet. in fig. 5. In size, it is adapted to the wrist. 
Another variety of antiquities of the same date, the stand- 
ing-stones, are seen in different places, consisting of rough 
unshapely slabs of the native grit or whin, stuck in the ground, 
singly, or in groups less or more circular. At one time, the 
theory entertained respecting these and all similar standing- 
stones was, that they were the remains of Druidic temples. 
George Chalmers calls them Druid oratories, and is intolerant 


'of any other notion. The more prevalent opinion among anti- 
quaries now is, that standing-stones are in the greater number 

Fig. 6. Standing- Stones, Sheriff Muir. 

of instances monuments over the graves of warriors or other 
distinguished persons, or were set up to commemorate some 
important victory. 

Of all the structural remains of this ancient people, the 
most enduring have been their defensible encampments or 
hill-forts. Whether these intrenchments belong to an age 
anterior to the Roman invasion, cannot be determined with any 
accuracy. The conclusion we have come to after inspecting 
them is, that they are the work of different ages, for some 
are much larger and more imposing than others, as if their 
constructers had gained a knowledge of the art of rearing 
defensible camps during the Roman occupancy. The circum- 
stance of a number of these hill-forts being traditionally called 
chesters, would also seem to indicate some relationship to the 
military castra of the Romans. Any speculations of this kind, 
however, are necessarily vague, and it must ever remain a 
matter of doubt at what precise era between the first and fifth 
or sixth centuries, the circular and oval British hill-forts were 


constructed. After glancing at a few historical facts, we shall 
submit an account of their actual appearance. 

The Roman invasion, in the first century of our era, must 
doubtless have produced a convulsive movement in the country 
bordering on the Tweed and its tributaries. Accustomed as the 
Gadeni were to warlike alarms, they could not fail to be startled 
with rumours of the conquests of Agricola and his well-disciplined 
legionaries ; for already, Nithsdale, Annandale, and Clydesdale 
had been reached by this strangely-powerful host of foreigners ; 
and we can well understand how the natives should have betaken 
themselves, with their families and goods, to intrenchments on 
the tops of the hills, with the hope of resisting the invaders. 
Nor was this heroism altogether unavailing, for, as is known, the 
Celtic tribes in the south of Scotland, though unable to prevent 
the Romans from planting military posts, gave them no little 
trouble during the whole of their stay. What concerns us here, 
however, is the nature of this foreign occupation in Peeblesshire. 

Passing through the country by way of Biggar, the Romans 
seem to have detached a force eastwards to Tweeddale, where 
they found a site every way suitable for a strong permanent 
encampment. This was the broad summit of a knoll skirted on 
the west and south by the Lyne, easy of access, yet defensible, not 
readily overlooked, and with the advantage of being near to water. 1 
On this favourable spot they constructed one of their castra 
stativa, the remains of which attest the strength and importance 
of the post. There is reason to suppose that this camp on the 
Lyne may have been formed some time between the years 80 
and 84. What it was called is uncertain. Antiquaries hesitate 
between two names Corda and Colonia ; but it may be neither. 
The distance of the camp from the Roman road through the 
upper part of Clydesdale is about nine miles. 

Although inferior to that at Ardoch, in Perthshire, the camp 
at Lyne has been of a magnitude sufficient to convey a correct 

1 The camp is situated on the farm of Lyne (Earl of Wemyss, proprietor), a short 
way west of Lyne church, at the distance of about five miles from Peebles, and is 
accessible by a cross-road from the highway. 


idea of this species of military defence. As it existed towards 
the conclusion of last century, it forms one of the illustrations in 
Major-general Roy's Military Antiquities (1793), and from that it 
will be easy to judge of its extent and importance. According 
to Roy's measurements, the camp was a parallelogram with 
rounded corners. The whole was comprehended in a length of 
850 feet, by a breadth of 750 feet. Such measurement included 
the extremities of the outer vallum. Within this exterior wall 
were other mounds with sunk ditches. The cleared space within 
measured 575 by 475 feet. The adjoining cut, fig. 7, copied 

Fig. 7. Roman Camp at Lyne in its original form. 

on a slightly reduced scale from Roy's engraving, represents the 
camp in its original form, with four environing walls pierced by 
an entrance on each side of the parallelogram. 

It is matter of regret that since the period of Roy's survey, 
the camp has suffered serious mutilations, and to all appearance 
it is destined to entire obliteration during the next fifty years. 
On visiting the camp, we found it under crop, and learned that 
it suffers fresh injury on each occasion of being subjected to the 



plough. In its present condition, as represented in fig. 8, nearly 
the whole of the north side is gone. The centre is level, with 
nothing to mark the site of the pratorium ; but the entrances 

Fig. 8. Roman Camp at Lyne in its mutilated state. 

on the three surviving sides are still recognisable. The hollow 
between the outer and inner mound measures 20 feet, the 
breadth of each mound is 14 feet, and the height of the mounds 
4 to 5 feet. The inner walls have risen above that on the 
outside, as appears at the north-east corner, where traces of the 
whole four are most perceptible. There had been some works 
exterior to the camp. A few years ago, the remains of Roman 
cooking utensils, in brown earthenware, were found at a spot 
about 30 feet beyond the outer vallum on the north ; these relics 
are now in the museum at Peebles. Cooking operations had 
probably been carried on at the spot, for which there would be 
facilities, presented by adjacent springs of water which have 
disappeared in the course of agricultural improvement. At the 
distance of 150 yards from the eastern entrance, there is a 
prominent knoll with a circular mound on its summit, enclosing 


a space of 18 feet in diameter, which may be assumed to have 
been a post of outlook for the garrison. 

Supposing this camp to have been established not later than 
84, it could only have been in use thirty-three years, when, in 117, 
the Romans abandoned the chain of forts erected by Agricola 
between the Forth and Clyde, and withdrew behind a new 
barrier, the wall of Hadrian, extending from the Tyne to the 
Solway. But twenty years later, the more northerly line of 
defence was resumed by Lollius Urbicus, governor of Britain 
under Antoninus Pius, from whom the barrier, now greatly 
strengthened, became known as the wall of Antoninus. Whether, 
on this resumption of their former power, the Romans returned 
to their post at Lyne, is unknown, though, from the magnitude of 
the remains, as well as the vigorous prosecution of the Roman 
conquests, it is probable that they did so. Their new occupancy 
of the country was not so brief as the preceding. They 
retained possession till their abandonment of Britain about 
410, during which interval Peeblesshire constituted part of 
the Roman province of Valentia. 

The withdrawal of the Romans is understood to have been 
followed by two kinds of invasion. No longer kept in check by 
the wall of Antoninus, the northern Caledonian tribes, to whom 
has been assigned the name of Picts, made incursions southwards, 
more, as is said, with the view of plunder than of conquest. 
About the same time, if not previously, colonies of Frisians, 
Angles, and other continental races established themselves on 
the shores of the German Ocean and Firth of Forth, and began 
to make unwelcome visits in a westerly and southerly direction 
towards the recesses of the vale of Tweed. Embarrassed and 
not a little terrified by those incursions from opposite direc- 
tions, a group of Romanised Britons, including the Gadeni and 
Selgovae, are conjectured to have laid aside mutual jealousies, 
and formed themselves into a defensive confederacy, which 
is known in history as the Regnum Cumbrense the Cumbrian 
kingdom, or kingdom of Strathclyde. 

This kingdom, with its capital at Alcluyd, the modern 


Dumbarton, comprehended the greater part of the south of 
Scotland, and was only circumscribed by the settlements of the 
Anglo-Saxons. To what extent the Picts were able to establish 
an influence among the Romanised Britons of Strathclyde, is 

According to the most trustworthy accounts, the residuary 
Romanised Britons on the Tweed, under whatever designation 
or however assisted, were put to great straits in stemming the 
Anglian invasion, and for security resorted to the erection 
of defensible barriers, which ultimately proved less availing than 
had been the means of resistance to the Romans. A double 
vallum and fosse were constructed, stretching from the high 
grounds in the neighbourhood of Galashiels to the mountains of 
Northumberland, and this barrier, known as the Catrail or Picts- 
work-ditck, was supported by innumerable forts, which crown 
the tops of the hills in Roxburgh, Selkirk, and Peebles shires 
particularly in Peeblesshire, which, as a central mountainous 
district between sea and sea, may be deemed to have been the 
last and most resolutely maintained stronghold of the Gadeni. 
With a knowledge of the protracted attempts to defend the 
upper section of the vale of Tweed against the invading forces 
Anglian and Frisian, but it is believed also Scandinavian which 
made their attacks from the east and north, we are able to 
appreciate the difficulty of assigning any particular era to the 
hill-forts of the aboriginal and severely-tried inhabitants of 
which antiquities some account may now be given. 

Within Peeblesshire may be reckoned upwards of fifty British 
camps, all circular or oval in form, and of lesser or greater 
dimensions. They are usually situated on the summits of hills 
of moderate elevation ; their ordinary height being from 400 to 
500 feet above the Tweed. Such elevations seem to have been 
chosen in preference to higher points in the neighbourhood, as if 
it were considered sufficient that the camps overlooked the 
passes in the vicinity, and had the advantage of some easily 
defensible ground on two or three sides. All the camps are 
composed of intrenchmcnts of earth and stones, with sunk 


ditches between the several rings. Some had consisted of two, 
others of three, and a few of four concentric circles or ellipses, 
rising one above another to a central space, in which had been 
the dwellings of the occupants. As an additional means of 
defence, exterior ramparts taking an irregular sweep on one side, 
had in a few instances been employed. 

Wherever situated, the country people around possess no 
reliable tradition respecting the origin of these ancient forts, 
which, often spoken of familiarly as 'rings/ 'camps/ or 
'chesters/ are imputed to the Romans or the Danes never 
to the aborigines and have excited so little interest as to be 
thought scarcely worthy of preservation. Several are known 
to have disappeared in the course of agricultural and other 
improvements, and those we have to enumerate are possibly 
not all that might be discovered. 


Cairn Fort, Ringside Edge, . . Eddleston. 

Northshield Rings, above Portmore, . 

Milkiston Rings, near Eddleston, . 

Harehope Fort, .... 

Harehope Rings, ... 

Meldon-hill Fort, .... Peebles. 
Janet's Brae Forts (two in number), . 

Cardie-hill Fort, Glentress Forest, 

Rittlegairy-hill Fort, Soonhope, . r. 

Cademuir-hill Forts (two in number), . 

Camp-law Fort (partly in Traquair), . 
Caerlee Fort, near Innerleithen, . . Innerleithen. 

Pirn-hill Fort, 

Rirnie-hill Fort, near Purvis-hill, . . 

Chesters, near Glen, . . . Traquair. 

Chester-hill Fort, near Grieston, . . 

Castle-knowe Fort, above Cardrona, . 

Highland Shiel Fort, ... 
Charge-law Fort, head of Railzie Hope, 
Torwood Fort, near Railzie, . . 

Hogsknowe Fort, . . . Manor. 

Ringknowe Fort, 

Chester-hill Fort, ... 




Broughton, Glenholm, and Kilbucho. 


Hound-hill Fort, . 
Kerr's Knowe Fort, 
Hog-hill Fort, 
Dreva Craig Fort, 
Chester-knowes Fort, 
Chester-lees Fort, 
Hamildean-hill Fort, 
Candyburn Castle Fort, 
Muirburn Castle Fort, 
Mitchel-hill Rings, 
Mill Rings, Trebetha-hill, . 
Helm End Fort, 
Langlaw-hill Fort, . 
Fort near Stirkfield, 
Knowe Kniffling Fort, 
Rachan-hill Fort, 
Coomlees Fort, 
The Rings, Chester Rigs, 
Fort on Holms Water, 
Ladyurd Rings, 
Fort south of Lochurd, 
Fort north of Lochurd, 
Blythbank-hill Fort, 
Blyth-hill Fort, 
Henderland-hill Fort, 
Bordland Rings, 
Whiteside-hill Fort, 
Drochill-hill Forts (two in number), 

The greater number of these forts are on a comparatively 
small scale, consisting of two intrenchments or rings with an 
intervening ditch, and embracing an area of from 150 to 2OO 
feet in diameter. Simple in construction, and found chiefly in 
the central part of the county, these lesser forts probably date, 
in many instances, from a period anterior to or coeval with the 
Roman invasion. The larger and more elaborate variety of hill- 
encampments are, with equal probability, to be referred to that 
later period when the Romanised Britons, improved in the art of 
castramctation, found it necessary to employ all their skill in 
defending themselves from Anglian and other foreign intruders 





on the north and east, and Picts and Scoto-Irish on the west. 
The situation of these more imposing British forts at least bears 
out this conjecture, for they are seen only at those places where 
the interior of this mountain-region is accessible by an invading 
host. Tweeddale is reached from Mid-Lothian chiefly by the 
vales of Eddleston and Lyne, and both were strongly guarded 
by forts. The group in the parish of Eddleston consisted of 
Cairn Fort, Northshield Rings, Milkiston Rings, Harehope 
Rings, and some others, including rings at Wormiston and 
Darnhall, which are now defaced. Cairn Fort, situated on 
the Ringside Edge, had apparently been only a small detached 
outpost. The principal reliance had been placed on Northshield 
and Milkiston Rings on the east, and Wormiston and Harehope 
Rings on the west side of the Eddleston ; for these commanded 
the lower passes, as well as the mountain-pathways, towards the 
banks of the Tweed. 

Northshield Rings occupy the summit of a knoll behind the 
modern mansion of Portmore, and have apparently served the 
purpose of guarding the approach, not only by the Eddleston, 
but also the South Esk. Through the good taste of a former 
proprietor, the late Colin Mackenzie, Esq., the camp has been 
carefully preserved in an open enclosure within a plantation. 
Oval in form, it consists of three clearly-defined walls with 
sunk ditches, measuring 450 feet in length by 370 in breadth. 
Two entrances, one on the west, the other on the east side, but 
not opposite each other, give access to a central space of 250 by 
200 feet. The whole works constitute an interesting relic of 
antiquity, and possess the advantage of being easily reached by 
a pathway from Portmore. 

At the distance of about a mile south from Northshield, and 
crowning a similar height, is the fort known as Milkiston Rings, 
the largest and most methodically constructed of its class in 
Peeblesshire. This great work of art affords a good specimen 
of the more elaborate species of British encampments, in which, 
with the regular mounds of circumvallation, is combined a 
detached rampart to receive the first shock of attack. The 


camp had consisted of four concentric walls of earth and stone, 
with deep intervening ditches, enclosing a central space in which 
were the dwellings of the occupants ; access to the interior being 
gained by two entrances perforating the several rings in a 
diagonal direction. Somewhat oval in form, the camp measures 
from north to south 550, and from east to west 450, feet. The 
breadth from the top of the fourth or outer ring to the top 
of the third ring is 32 feet, and the space between the second 
and third ring is 42 feet. The sunk ditches, which are best 
preserved on the north side, are about 12 feet deep in their 
present condition ; and at one time, when the walls were perfect, 
these fosses must have offered considerable impediments to an 
escalade. The detached rampart which lies on the slope of the 
hill below the camp, had acted as a formidable barricade at that 

- 9- Milkiston Rings, present state. 

part, where an enemy would be expected to approach. In form, 
it somewhat resembled a strung bow, with the convex side 
outermost, and consisting of a wall with ditches, it compre- 
hended a space of nearly seven acres. At its western extremity, 



the rampart was flanked by a natural ravine, which, to appear- 
ance, has been so deepened by art, as to render the camp at this 
quarter almost impregnable to any force likely to be brought 
against it. 

From the large space embraced by the camp in its several 
parts, it is evident that a numerous body of defenders, along 
with their wives, families, and cattle, had been accommodated ; 
but of the dwellings which they occupied, there are now only 

Fig. 10. Milkiston Rings, original form. 

very feeble traces. On excavating the space within the inner- 
most ring, which is dotted over with tumuli, we were able to lay 
bare the imperfect foundations of two buildings of stone without 
mortar, each measuring about 32 feet in length. Within recollec- 
tion, many stones have been removed to form the dykes which 
divide the adjoining fields. Viewing this camp as a good illus- 
tration of the larger variety of British forts, we offer two cuts, 
figs. 9 and 10, to shew its present and original extent. In 
fig. 9, are represented the several concentric rings, with the inner 
space where the foundations have been discovered, also the two 


entrances as clearly as they can be traced. Exteriorly, on the 
north, is seen all that now exists of the great rampart, which, by 
being happily within a plantation, has so far been preserved ; the 
remainder, extending into an open heath, had, at the time of our 
visit, just been levelled by the plough. Fig. 10 represents, in 
miniature, the whole works, rampart included, previous to their 
partial demolition. 1 

Access to the interior of Tweeddale by the Lyne had been 
well guarded by a group of forts at that part, near the church of 
Newlands, where the valley narrows to an easily defensible 
gorge. We have here, on the west side of the Lyne Water, 
Henderland-hill Rings and Bordland Rings, with two forts on 
Drochill Hill ; while on the east side are Whiteside-hill Rings, 
and a fort of a lesser kind on Pendreich Hill ; this last, however, 
having now almost disappeared. Among the whole, the two 
most worthy of notice are Henderland-hill and Whiteside-hill 
Rings, for these had been the great guardians of the pass, and 
are conspicuous from a considerable distance. 

Henderland Hill, consisting of a pyramidal knoll, which rises 
to a height of 400 feet above the bed of the Lyne, commands so 
extensive an outlook in different directions, that no enemy could 

Fig. 1 1. Section of Henderland-hill Rings. 

approach it unobserved. The camp entirely covers the rounded 
summit, and alike from the steepness of the hill, and the nature 
of the defences, it must have defied any ordinary attempt at 
assault. The walls, which form an irregular oval, are three in 
number, and remain in a better state of preservation than is 
usual with works of a similar nature. In fig. u, we offer a 

1 Milkiston Rings arc situated on the farm of Milkiston, the proprietor of which, Lord 
Elibanlc, has adopted means for preserving what remains of this very interesting camp. 


section of the southern extremity of the oval, where the measure- 
ments are from base to top of outer wall, 19 feet ; top of wall 
to bottom of the fosse, 25 feet ; breadth of bottom of the fosse, 
1 1 feet ; and from bottom of fosse to top of the second wall, 
27 feet. The third ring is less imposing. According to the 
Ordnance Survey, the length of the entire camp is 320 feet, by 
a breadth, at widest, of 220 feet ; but following the rises and 
depressions from end to end, we found a measurement of 445 
feet a fact calculated to convey an impressive idea of these 
gigantic works. Within the innermost wall, there had seemingly 
been some buildings like those at Milkiston ; and it cannot be 
doubted that both camps are of the same era. 

On a lower protuberance, to the north-east, amidst a planta- 
tion, is the minor fort known as Bordland Rings, and on the hill 
which stretches between Callands House and the old castle of 
Drochill, are the two forts already mentioned ; they are of the 
same lesser character, and now considerably damaged. While 
such were the camps that flanked the valley of the Lyne on the 
west, the eastern side was equally well watched and defended by 
the forts on Pendreich and Whiteside. This last, occupying the 
crest of a hill, had nearly equalled Milkiston Rings in point of 
size and arrangement. The camp consists of three concentric 
walls with intervening ditches, and measuring over all the length 
is 450 by a breadth of 350 feet. The exterior works have 
suffered considerable injury, but we are still able to trace a 
portion of an outer rampart or enceinte on the south. In the 
Ordnance Survey map, the Whiteside-hill Fort is marked as 
being 1200 feet above the level of the sea. It is reached by a 
mountain-path, which strikes off the highway near the manse of 

The western section of the county, embracing the main routes 
from Clydesdale, is thickly studded with ancient forts, the larger 
and more important of which are seen in the parishes of Brough- 
ton and Skirling. Perhaps the largest of all is one called Lang- 
law-hill Fort, situated on a high ground about a mile north-west 
from the village of Broughton. It consists of five rings, the 


outermost of which surrounds the others at a distance of about 
250 feet, and measuring across the circle from this outer barri- 
cade, the entire breadth of the camp is fully 700 feet. This is 
not one of the best preserved British forts in Peeblesshire, but 
portions of the rings are remarkably entire ; and the whole 
works, along with the position occupied, afford a good study in 
relation to early historical circumstances. 

The most imposing of the forts in the eastern part of the 
county is that which crowns the summit of Caerlee Hill, a low 

Fig. 12. Caerlee-hill Fort. 

shoulder of the Lee Pen, possessing a commanding outlook in 
four directions northward up the vale of Leithen towards 
Mid- Lothian, eastward along the lower section of the Tweed, 
westward in the direction of Peebles, and southward up the 
vale of the Quair, which leads to Yarrow and a better spot 
in this quarter could not have been selected for guarding 
against the approach of an invading force. The knoll on which 
the camp is placed towers to a rocky crest, round which 
are visible two concentric intrenchments, both unfortunately 


damaged at different points by excavations for building-stone. 
The camp is almost circular, measuring 400 by 350 feet 
across. The breadth of the outer mound or wall is 18 feet 
by a height in some places of 5 feet ; the width from 
the outer to the inner ring is 56 feet ; and the height of the 
central part above the base of the outer ring is 60 feet. The 
preceding cut (fig. 12) represents the present appearance of the 
camp ; the dotted line indicating a stone wall which separates 
the open part of the hill, pertaining to the family of Traquair, 
from the wooded portion connected with the Glenormiston pro- 
perty. The foundations of no buildings can be traced within the 
camp, but some bronze ornaments, already referred to, were 
found several years ago in digging a part of the ring on the 
Glenormiston side. The fort is supposed to have communicated 
the name, Caerlee, signifying castle on the Lee, to the hill on 
which it is situated. 

On the opposite side of the Leithen, as a twin guardian of the 
pass, is Pirn-hill Fort, an irregular oval, 350 feet long by 200 
feet broad, consisting of one well-defined ring, and fragments of 
two others. At present, it is wholly under plantation. 

From Innerleithen and Traquair in the east, along the heights 
which overlook the Tweed and its tributaries as far as Tweeds- 
rnuir, there is a series of forts noticed in the preceding list, all 
seemingly of a secondary character in point of size as well as in 
method of construction, and therefore probably more ancient than 
those which are assumed to have been established as barriers to 
invasion from the shores of the Forth and Clyde. Among this 
miscellaneous group, only two or three may be particularised as 
occupying points of some moment. On two craggy summits of 
Cademuir are large forts of an irregularly oval form, and of 
simple construction, which, commanding a view of the Roman 
camp at Lyne, may perhaps have been erected as places of 
jealous outlook by the aborigines as early as the first century. 
Another large fort, also of the simpler kind, consisting of a 
single oval ring, which embraces an area of 500 feet in length by 
a breadth of 450 feet, is situated on Hamildean Hill, about a 


mile northward from the Roman camp, and to it may be 
attributed the same purpose as that of the two forts on 

As a kind of central stronghold, there is a somewhat remark- 
able group of hill-forts a short way east from Peebles, where the 
vale of Soonhope opens on the Tweed. The more prominent of 
these is one in the midst of a plantation on the summit of Janet's 
Brae, whence a comprehensive view is obtained of the Tweed 
from Kailzie to Neidpath, and of the stretch of country south- 
ward to Hundleshope. Janet's Brae camp had been one of the 
strongest of the inferior kind. It consisted of two' rings, nearly 
circular in form. Unfortunately, the works have suffered irrepar- 
able damage on the south side, and the actual dimensions of the 
fort cannot be satisfactorily stated. As nearly as we can judge, 
the outer wall embraced a space which measures 325 by 275 feet 
across. On the north, where the intrenchments are most complete, 
the depth of the fosse between the two walls is 2 1 feet, and it 
extends in an unbroken line 400 feet. The surface of the interior 
part of the camp, which is very irregular, with a slope westward, 
is dotted with tumuli, suggestive of the remains of buildings ; and 
at the centre there is a hollow, now choked with nettles, that 
may have been caused by old excavations. On a lower pro- 
tuberance, which we pass in the ascent, there are the remains of 
a fort of lesser dimensions ; and the remains of another fort, in 
better preservation, are seen on an adjoining height to the 
north, called Cardie Hill, covered by Glentress Forest. 

The ridge on which these forts had been placed had evidently 
been a favourite spot for oppida of this nature. Northward, on 
the top of Kittlegairy Hill, overhanging the vale of Soonhope, are 
seen the remains of a camp which had belonged to the group. 
It had consisted of three rings, all well defined on the east or 
higher side, but nearly gone on the north. The largest stretch 
of this camp, as shewn in fig. 13, is from north to south, in 
which direction the interior measures 150 feet. In the surviving 
mounds there are more than the usual quantity of stones, and 
the foundations of buildings are discernible. The whole of the 



Janet's Brae group of forts are on the property of Sir Adam 
Hay, Bart. 

Fig- 13- Kittlcgairy Fort, Soonhope. 

From the brief description now given of the Peeblesshire hill- 
forts, it will be observed that they do not differ materially from 
the ancient camps elsewhere in the south of Scotland, as far as 
the borders of Northumberland all seemingly being referrible 
to an early period, but whether in every instance the work of the 
aborigines must remain doubtful ; for amidst the contentions of 
natives and invaders, forts may have been lost, won, and altered ; 
what was commenced as British, may have ended as Anglian 
or Scandinavian, and that the reverse may have been the case 
is equally probable. The subject, now only beginning to be 
awakened, is eminently worthy of elucidation on a scale suffi- 
ciently comprehensive to bear out a correct and intelligible 

In connection with these antiquities, we may associate those 
remarkable earthen terraces covered with a natural sward, which, 
seen on certain hillsides in different parts of Peeblesshire, have 


caused not a little perplexity. They consist of a flattish stripe, 
of varying breadth, from which rises a slope at an easy inclination 
to a similar stripe above, and so on, to the highest in the 
series. The height of the intervening slopes, which is by no 
means uniform, ordinarily varies from ten to twenty or more 
feet. These terraces, resembling a rude and gigantic flight of 
steps, always occur on the face of steep hills with a fertile soil, 
and at the top, or no great distance from it, there is usually a 
British fort, or a building of more modern date. By the country- 
people, these terraces are called deases, from their resemblance 
to grassy seats. 

One of the more remarkable groups is that at Purvis Hill, 

Fig. 14. Purvis-hill Terraces. 

about a mile eastward from Innerleithen. With a southern 
exposure overlooking the Tweed, they commence on the lower 
part of the hill, immediately above the alluvial haugh, and thence 
rise to a height of 450 feet. Altogether, the terraces may have 
been twelve to fourteen in number, but they have suffered from 
the excavations for the post-road, which pursues the line of one 


of them, and has obliterated part of another. They rise at first 
with some regularity, but afterwards become irregular, both as 
regards extent and the direction in which they lie. While the 
lower in the series stretch at right angles with the steep of the 
hill, the higher ones slope upwards somewhat in accommodation 
to the nature of the ground. The terraces are on a larger scale 
than ordinary, for they vary from 48 to 130 feet in breadth, and 
we found the second in the ascent to measure 960 feet in length. 
The intervening slopes, which are about 14 feet in depth, have 
at some period been planted with ashes, which now, being well 
grown, impart that effect, in looking upwards from the public 
road, which is seen in the winter sketch offered in fig. 14. 
Surmounting the terraces, on a conspicuous part of the hill, 
stood the old feudal tower of Purvis Hill, now a heap of ruins. 

A group of terraces, quite as interesting, though less pictu- 
resque, is that on the face of a hill in the parish of Newlands, on 
the farm of Noblehall, once belonging to Romanno, and now 
included in the estate of Spitalhaugh. Here are reckoned 
fourteen terraces, one above another, varying from 6 to 12 feet 
in breadth. Although the hill seems too steep for the plough, 
it has been brought gradually into culture, and on this account, 
a portion of the terraces has been unfortunately destroyed. 
Gordon, in his Itinerarium Septentrionale, early in the last 
century, speaks of these terraces extending ' for a whole mile, 
not unlike a large amphitheatre.' In the present day, they are 
much less in extent. Their arrangement and their now muti- 
lated appearance will be understood from the following sketch, 
fig. 15. As so represented, the group measures 500 feet in 
length by 250 in depth from top to bottom. As the hill 

bends outwards, the terraces follow the natural curve, and are 


by no means regular in their distances from each other, or in 
keeping distinctly separate. Some are double the dimensions 
of the rest, and several run into each other. At the summit 
of the bank, though not immediately over the terraces, is the 
site of Pendreich-hill fort. Dr Pennicuik makes the following 
remarks on these terraces, after speaking of the church of 


Newlands : * Above this, upon the side of a pleasant green hill 
in Romanno ground, are to be seen eleven or twelve large and 
orderly Terrace Walks, which in their summer verdure cast a 
bonny dash at a distance : And this I take not to be natural, 
but a work of art ; because upon the top of the hill there is a 
little round Fortification of earth and stone, with a ditch about 
it, as if it had been some Roman Garrison, and these Terraces 
cut out to keep off the horse ; the like being to be seen on the 
top of several hills in Tweeddale.' Armstrong says of the 

Fig. 15. Romanno Terraces. 

terraces that they rise with ' a regular gradation to the top ; from 
fifteen to twenty feet each ; and which Gordon believes Roman ; 
though the country-people call it Pictish : The circular intrench- 


ment on the Hill would indicate the whole to be British, as there 
are similar fences on the sides of several hills, called the Red 
Riggs, near Wooler in Northumberland, where the battle of 
Homildown, 1492, was fought." George Chalmers attempts an 

1 Armstrong's Companion to the Map of Tweeddale, p. 74. 


explanation of these ancient terraces, by saying they ' were 
undoubtedly intended for various sports.' 1 

On the face of the steep hill called Roger's Crag, at Halmyre ; 
on the hill known as Torwood, near Kailzie ; on the hill below 
Venlaw House ; also at Kilbucho and some other parts of the 
county, there are similar terraces, though inferior in point of 
extent. All have but one character, however much they differ in 
number or dimensions. It does not appear to us that they can 
be attributed to the action of either glaciers or water, and all the 
ordinary speculations respecting them seem equally untenable. 
There would seem to be but one reasonable solution respecting 
the origin of these terraces, and that is, that they were designed 
for horticultural or agricultural operations. This opinion is 
sustained by what is seen in the way of terrace-husbandry in 
many parts of the world, and there are good reasons for believing 
that the practice of laying out steep but fertile hillsides in 
the same manner prevailed in Scotland at a time when the low 
grounds were either marshy or covered by forests. On the face 
of the hill, Arthur's Seat, near Duddingston, is seen a group of 
terraces of precisely the same character as those we have 
described, and that they are artificial is placed beyond a doubt 
by the fact of their being in some cases sustained by a rude 
species of masonry. The question as to the antiquity of the 
Peeblesshire terraces generally is not so easily answered. They 
have probably existed from an early British period ; but it is not 
less likely that they were kept in use until much later times, and 
became appendages of feudal keeps. 

While neither forts nor terraces, nor, indeed, any tokens of the 
early inhabitants survive in the town of Peebles, the name 
sufficiently indicates its antiquity. Occupying a dry and fertile 
spot in a bosom of environing hills, and favoured by an abundant 
supply of water from the Tweed and the Eddleston, a town 
sprung up, the centre of a thinly scattered population, and became 
a defensible post during the contests between the Strathclyde 

1 Caledonia^ vol. i., p. 468. 


Britons and the Anglo-Saxons. About 547, this last-named 
people are reputed to have subdued the whole country lying 
between the Tyne and the Forth, and constituted it the kingdom 
of Northumbria ; but though Tweeddale was included within this 
dominion, there is reason to suppose that the Scoto-Irish may 
have settled and given names to places in the district not long 
after this early period. 

It has been thought that to the Scots, who had come from 
Ireland, and after having colonised the coast of Argyle, spread 
themselves over the country, Peeblesshire is indebted for the first 
knowledge of Christianity. But it is as reasonably conjectured 
that through the preaching of St Ninian, about the begin- 
ning of the fifth century, the Britons of Strathclyde, those 
of Tweeddale included, were reclaimed from heathenism to 
the light of the gospel. During the sixth century, notwith- 
standing civil commotions, there appears to have been a 
combined missionary system in the district. Columba, with 
his associate monks, crossed from Ireland to lona in 565, and 
favoured by his countrymen who preceded him, he was able 
to assist in the good work promoted about this period by 
Kentigern, of the Strathclyde British race, who is remembered 
under his more familiar designation of St Mungo, and was a 
contemporary of the British seer, Merlin the Wild, to whom 
Peeblesshire has the honour of having given a grave. Assigning 
to Ninian better known as St Ringan the credit of introducing 
Christianity to a hitherto benighted region, we are perhaps 
entitled to assume that St Mungo was scarcely less meritorious 
in giving that degree of consistency to the missionary labours 
of his time, which afterwards assumed the definite form of 
parochial and other ecclesiastical divisions. We cannot tell 
whether this spiritual magnate ever visited Peebles, but his name 
was long commemorated by a public fountain, known as St 
Mungo's Well. 1 

1 Kentigern, bishop of Glasgow, and contemporary of Columba, enjoys the repu- 
tation of having christianised the west and south-east of Scotland. Recommended 
by his knowledge, diligence, and piety, he became known as St Mungo, or 'the 



While during the sixth and seventh centuries, an ecclesiastical 
system was getting into shape in Peeblesshire, the Scoto-Irish 
from the west continued their distracting contentions for perma- 
nent possession of the country, and with such varying success, 
that numbers made good their settlement among the original 
British people. It must have been a happy event for the 
inhabitants of whatever origin, when Eadulf, in 1018, ceded 
Northumbria to Malcolm II., by which means Peeblesshire 
was at length incorporated with the kingdom of Scotland, and 
enabled to participate in measures of general improvement. 

Beloved,' by which appellation he is alone remembered. This eminent ecclesiastic 
died in 601. The arms of the city of Glasgow, adopted from the seals of the bishops, 
still commemorate the miracles which, according to legend, St Kentigem was believed 
to have wrought the bird representing a robin which he restored to life ; the tree, a 
frozen bough of hazel which he kindled into flame ; the salmon and ring, the recovery 
in a fish's mouth of the lost ring of the Queen of Caidyow ; and the bell, that which 
belonged to him, and was invested with certain miraculous powers. The motto now 
in use, ' Let Glasgow Flourish,' cannot be traced to a remote period. The following 
is a representation of the seal of Archbishop Cairncross, 1684-7. 


THE absorption of Peeblesshire into the kingdom of Scot- 
land at the commencement of the eleventh century, 
enabled it, as has been said, to participate in measures for 
the improvement of the country. The most remarkable of these 
measures, for it facilitated every other, was the introduction of 
feudal usages, along with the hospitable reception of large bodies 
of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman immigrants of a superior 

Before Malcolm Canmore ascended the throne, numbers of 
Anglo-Danes, in consequence of the fall of their power in 
England, emigrated to Scotland, to which they introduced a 
knowledge of various useful arts, as well as numerous Scan- 
dinavian words, which are perpetuated in the vernacular of the 
Lowland Scotch and also in names of places. But the subse- 
quent immigrations of Anglo-Saxons needy, accomplished, and 
ambitious were greatly more imposing. During the reign of 
Malcolm, large numbers of them arrived in consequence of the 
Norman Conquest of England, 1066 ; for Margaret, a sister of 
the refugee Edgar Atheling, who was married to Malcolm, 
brought a numerous body of English knights in her train. In 
the successive reigns of Malcolm's two elder sons, Edgar and 
Alexander I., this hospitable reception of strangers of distinction 
continued, and in the reign of his third son, David I., 1124 1153, 
it exceeded all previous example. David's connection with the 


Norman reigning family in England greatly promoted this 
Anglicising process, which was further aided by the cession 
made of certain portions of the north of England by Stephen. 

Through Margaret, his mother the St Margaret of Scottish 
history David was by blood half an Englishman, and he was 
wholly educated as one at the Anglo-Norman court. Returning 
to Scotland, he was in one aspect an English baron, the husband 
of an English countess, and from these circumstances, as well as 
the benevolence of his character, disposed to assimilate his 
kingdom as far as possible to that of England. It is said that 
he was accompanied into Scotland with a thousand Anglo- 
Normans, and that these were followed by many more the 
material out of which, through feudal investiture, were to be 
created a Scottish baronage and landed proprietary. As may be 
supposed, the native chiefs did not look without jealousy on this 
extraordinary incursion of foreigners, but except in the north, 
where there was much trouble on this account, David had the 
tact to conciliate his original subjects, by investing them with 
chartered rights to certain lands in the sense of ' property,' 
in place of the ill-defined claims on which they had hitherto 
founded possession. 

Other circumstances helped to modernise and improve Scot- 
land at this period. In 1155, Henry II. expelled all foreigners 
from his dominions, whereupon large numbers of Flemings, 
acquainted with trade, fisheries, navigation, and handicraft, 
flocked to Scotland, and there became convenient instruments 
of civilisation. According to Tytler, 1 who does not give his 
authority, some of these industrious Flemings settled in Peebles ; 
and if such was the case, as is not improbable, to them might 
perhaps be traced the introduction of those woollen manufac- 
tures which have long been conducted on a humble but useful 
scale in the place. 

The creation of burghs, and the rearing up of independent 
trading communities, formed part of the civilising process 

1 History of Scotland > vol. iL, p. 286. Edition, 1829. 


promoted by the wise policy of David I. ; and we are to believe 
that his aims in this respect, as were those of his predecessors, 
must have been assisted by the great numbers of English who had 
from time to time been captured as prisoners in the international 
wars, and distributed throughout the country. For shelter from 
the hatred of the aborigines, these unfortunate English captives 
sought refuge in the towns and royal castles, from which circum- 
stance it has been said that, before the conclusion of the twelfth 
century, the Scottish burghs, those in the south especially, were 
inhabited chiefly by English or their descendants. We are 
unable to ascertain the extent to which Peebles received this 
Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman infusion, but looking to its 
situation, and the names of the persons who appear in the lists 
of inhabitants in the thirteenth century, there is reason to 
conclude that it largely participated in the general colonisation. 

Viewing these various circumstances, and fixing attention 
on the central part of the twelfth century, we see, as in 
a dissolving-view, Celtic Scotland with its primitive illiterate 
people fading and vanishing away, and in its place arising 
Anglicised Scotland, with its titled barons, feudal castles and 
usages, its expanded civil and ecclesiastical polity, its great 
monasteries and cathedrals, and its cities and towns, with their 
groups of free burgesses and incorporated guilds. It was at 
this period that the banks of the river, and the lesser vales 
throughout the county of Peebles, began to be studded with 
those castles of stone and lime of which the remains are still 
to be seen, and it is at this eventful period, also, we first hear of 
charters to property, of regular laws, of courts of justice, of 
collegiate and parish churches, or of any other token of an 
advanced community. 

Enriched, privileged, and protected, the church of Rome, as 
elevated by David above the meagre footing on which it had 
hitherto been placed in Scotland, is understood to have 
contributed in no small degree to the general amelioration. The 
cathedrals and monasteries, by drawing towards them an 
accomplished body of clergy, became centres of learning, whence 


radiated a knowledge of the English tongue into every district. 
The records of the principal bishoprics and abbeys, still pre- 
served, form an invaluable fountain of knowledge respecting 
this early period of Scottish history ; and to the Cartulary of 
Glasgow and Chronicle of Melrose, in particular, are we indebted 
for facts concerning lands and families in Peeblesshire which 
would otherwise have been forgotten. 

According to tradition, David was fond of lingering on the 
banks of the Tweed. He often resided at the castle of Rox- 
burgh, in the midst of scenery which he adorned with the abbeys 
of Melrose, Jedburgh, and Kelso, and which had already, 
through the piety of the Constable Morville, been enriched with 
the impressive architecture of Dryburgh. In the upper vale of 
the Tweed, there was less amenity of landscape, but the air was 
salubrious, the hills and forests formed favourite hunting-grounds, 
and for the accommodation of the court, there were the royal 
castles of Peebles and Traquair. Neither of these edifices could 
have been very extensive, yet they were visited by several kings 
in succession, and from them state papers were dated. The 
advantageous situation of the castle of Peebles, placed on the 
defensible extremity of a peninsula at the confluence of the 
Eddleston Water with the Tweed, along with other circumstances, 
caused it to be preferred as a resort by princely personages. It 
was visited by David L, by his son the Earl Henry, Malcolm IV., 
William the Lion, Alexander II., and we venture to add 
Alexander III., whose munificence towards Peebles will require 
immediate notice. 

Besides confirming previous grants, David I. endowed Peebles 
with gifts of lands and privileges adequate to its support. 
From this time, therefore, the town glides into historical notice, 
and so likewise does the sherifTdom or county. Justiciary- 
courts were held at Peebles as early as the reign of William the 
Lion, 1165 1214; and previous to the death of Alexander III., 
1286, Tweeddale had two sheriffs, one at Peebles, the other at 
Traquair the two being merged in one about 1304, during the 
occupancy of Edward I. 


At the distance of two miles south from Peebles, within the 
bosom of the Newby Hills, lies Walthamshope, the name of 
which has been corrupted into Waddinshope. Here, formerly, 
the burgesses of Peebles owned a right of common with the 
privilege of digging peats, which in 1262 became the subject of 
dispute with Robert Cruik possibly a descendant of the Anglo- 
Saxon settler who imparted his name to Crookston. As seen 
by the Acts of the Scots Parliament, 1 this dispute was of suffi- 
cient importance to call for a precept of inquiry from Alex- 
ander III., and was finally determined in favour of the burgesses. 
Of no general interest, the case is curious from the names of the 
persons composing the jury Archibald of Hopkeiloc, Alexander 
of Wynkistun, Richard Fermer, Clement of Hopkeiloc, Roger of 
Kedistun, Michael of Kedistun, Roger Gardener, Archibald of 
Hundwaluchishope, Adam of Stobhou, Thomas Smith, Richard 
the son of Godard, Gauri Pluchan, William Shepherd, Walter 
Shepherd, John Modi, Robert Gladhoc, Cokin Smith, and Adam 
Hacsmall. Such is the earliest record of names connected with 

Tweeddale can boast of no ecclesiastical structures comparable 
to the abbeys in the lower and more fertile part of the valley ; 
but neither was it devoid of buildings which attested the piety 
and munificence of the Scottish sovereigns and prelates from the 
twelfth till the fourteenth century. Perhaps through its early 
connection with the kingdom of Strathclyde, the vale of Tweed 
was included in the diocese of Glasgow, in which it was embraced 
until the abolition of the episcopal system at the Revolution. 

By David I., while still only Prince of Cumbria, the see of 
Glasgow was re-invigorated and re-endowed, 1116; and shortly 
after this period, the diocese, for the sake of local supervision, 
was divided into rural deaneries, each comprehending a group of 
parishes. By this arrangement, Peebles became a deanery in the 
archdeaconry of Teviotdale, with a resident dean, the immediate 
superior of the ministering clergy within his jurisdiction. On 

1 Appendix to Preface, vol. i. Large edition. 


consulting the laborious and valuable work of Mr Cosmo Innes, 
Origines Parochiales Scotice, it will be seen that the deanery of 
Peebles corresponded with the cluster of parishes composing the 
county, with the addition of the parish of Yarrow, in which were 
comprehended several churches and chapels, one of them being 
St Mary's Kirk, renowned in the ballad and song poetry of 

Vitalised by gifts from David I., the ecclesiastical system 
within the deanery received a considerable accession by the 
founding of the parish church of Peebles, dedicated to St 
Andrew, on the site, as is believed, of a more ancient building. 
This event, which occurred in 1195, under the auspices of Bishop 
Joceline of Glasgow, 1 was followed by the enlarged endowment of 
a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, adjoining the castle of 
Peebles ; also of a chapel of a similar kind at Chapel-hill, in the 
neighbourhood. A religious house, called the Hospital of St 
Leonards, was placed two miles to the east of Peebles, at a 
place formerly called Chapel Yards, near to the height on 
which stands Horsburgh Castle ; and to complete the series 
of ecclesiastical structures within a narrow compass, the church 
and monastery of the Holy Cross were founded and endowed by 
Alexander III. 

Of the foundation of this the greatest ecclesiastical establish- 
ment in Peeblesshire, several accounts are given, and of these, as 
most trustworthy, we select that of Fordoun. 2 ' Upon the 9th 
of May 1261, in the thirteenth year of the reign of King Alex- 
ander, a magnificent and venerable cross was found at Peblis, 

1 Joceline appears to have succeeded Ingleram as abbot of Melrose, 1 1 74 ; about 
the same time he became bishop of Glasgow, and built the noble crypt of its cathedral 
between 1181 and 1197. After a long life of ecclesiastical usefulness and munificence 
in founding churches, he died at Melrose, 1199. See Keith's Catalogue of Scottish 

* John of Fordoun, who died about 1386, is the father of Scottish history. His 
work, which commences with an account of the world since the creation, comes down 
to the reign of David I. ; but it was subsequently continued by Bower, abbot of 
Inchcolm, till the death of James I., 1437. A complete edition of this great 
historical work (which is in Latin), entitled the Scotichronicon, was published in 
2 vols. folio, at Edinburgh, 1759. 


in presence of various honest men, churchmen, ministers, and 
burgesses. But in what year, or by whom, the cross was 
deposited here, is unknown ; though it is supposed to have been 
buried by certain of the faithful, at the time of Maximian's 
persecution in Britain, about the year 296. Shortly afterwards, 
there was found, about three or four paces distant from the spot 
where the glorious cross was discovered, an urn of stone, contain- 
ing the ashes and bones of a human body, which seemed to have 
been cut in small pieces. Whose reliques these were, no one yet 
knows. They are, however, thought by some to be the remains 
of the person whose name was inscribed on the stone near which 
the cross lay ; for on the upper side of that stone was engraven : 
where the cross had been found, frequent miracles were and 
continue to be wrought, and multitudes of people flocked thither, 
and still devoutly flock, making their oblations and vows to God. 
On which account, the king, by the advice of the bishop of 
Glasgow, caused a stately church to be erected there, in honour 
of God and the Holy Rood.' Alexander III. entered devoutly 
into the undertaking. A church with conventual buildings, 
containing seventy Red or Trinity Friars, was founded and 
liberally endowed with land in the neighbourhood and else- 
where. 1 The shattered remains of the Cross Church, or, as it 
was sometimes called, the Church of the Holy Rude of Peebles, 
will come under notice in our description of the town ; mean- 
while, it is sufficient to say that, augmented by this establish- 
ment, to which devout pilgrims were attracted from far and 
wide, the ecclesiastical society of Peebles, towards the end of 
the thirteenth century, must have been of a very imposing kind. 

1 The privileges of the Red or Trinity Friars were confirmed by Pope Innocent IV., 
1246. Their houses were named hospitals or ministries, and their superiors ministers 
(Afittistri). Their substance or rents were divided into three parts, one of which was 
reserved for redeeming Christian slaves from amongst the infidels. ' Tertia vero pars,' 
say their constitutions, ' reservatur ad redemptionem captivorum, qui sunt incarcerati 
pro fide Christi a paganis. ' Their habit was white, with a red and blue cross patee 
upon their scapular. Their general chapter was held yearly at Whitsunday, ' in 
octavis Penticostes.' At the Reformation, there were thirteen establishments of Red 
or Trinity Friars in Scotland. See Keith's Catalogue of Scottish Bishops. 


The abbey of Aberbrothock, as is seen by its charter-book, 
possessed some property in Peebles, including a hostilagium for 
the temporary residence of persons connected with that monastic 
establishment. The following is a translation of the charter on 
the subject : 

' Be it known to all faithful Christian men, wherever the present writing 
shall be seen or heard, that we, Brother Bernard, by divine permission 
Abbot of Aberbrothoc and the convent in that place, and of express con- 
sent of our whole chapter, have given, granted, and by our present charter 
have confirmed, to William called Maceon, burgess of Peebles, and his 
heirs, our whole land that we have in the town of Peebles, lying between 
the land of John of the Lake, on the south, on the one part, and the 
land of John Williamson, on the north, on the other part, that Laurence de 
Wedayl held of us, and that the same Laurence before, in worthy faith, 
by stick and staff, rendered up to us, and all right and claim that he had 
in the said land, or in any manner might have, for himself and his heirs 
resigning it entirely for ever ; to hold and have the said William and his 
heirs in free burgage of us and our successors, with all its advantages, 
easements, and just pertinents : Saving to us and our successors the 
right to hold our Court of Regality and other sentences on the said land, 
when we wish to hold them; the said William and his heirs paying 
henceforth to us and our successors two silver shillings yearly at the 
feast of the Holy Trinity, and finding honest lodging, each according to 
his degree, with his own family, for the Abbot of Aberbrothoc for the 
time, and his monks, novices, and clerks, bailiffs, and attorneys coming 
on the business and cause of the monastery, as often as they arrive ; a 
hall, with a table, trestles, and other furniture, where they can becom- 
ingly eat ; a spence with a buttery, one or more sleeping-chambers, a 
decent kitchen, and a stable for their horses ; also, on the coming of the 
foresaid persons, to find sufficient fuel, as well in the hall and the 
chamber as in the kitchen ; white candles of tallow, commonly called 
Paris candles ; straw or rushes for the hall and chamber ; and salt for 
the table : Moreover, when the messengers or runners of the abbey shall 
come to the dwelling, they are to be admitted without gainsaying, and 
the same William and his heirs are not to detain them, but to be at cost, 
nevertheless, for their food : Also, the said William or his heirs shall, in 
no manner, sell, mortgage, or alienate the foresaid land and hostilagium, 
or give them up to any other person, unless with consent of the said 
abbot and convent for the time being : In testimony whereof, the 
common seal of our chapter, with one consent, we have caused to be put 
to the present charter. Witnesses, the same chapter. In the year 1317.'' 

1 Registrant Vetus de Aberbrothoc (Bannatyne Club Book), p. 300. 



Improvements in the country parts of Tweeddale during the 
thirteenth century kept pace with those in the burgh. Mills, 
malt-kilns, and brew-houses were established ; horticulture, 
through the knowledge of the foreign educated clergy, made 
considerable progress ; the comforts and tastes of the people 
were advanced ; and with settled peace, the powers of rural 
production, as well as of trade, were largely increased. In 
Peeblesshire, as in other counties, it cannot escape notice that 
the art of building must have arrived at a high degree of 
perfection between the reigns of David I. and Alexander III. 
The hard and somewhat intractable whinstone dug from 
the hills in the upper region of the Tweed, admits of little 
elegance in architecture ; but we see that with this material, 
and lime brought from the borders of Mid-Lothian, castles and 
churches were reared of great strength and durability. We give, 
beneath, a representation of two friars, of the class attached to 
the Cross Church of Peebles. 


WITH the twelfth century the great transition century 
in Scotland the settlement of distinct races terminated 
in Peeblesshire. To the original British people there had, 
in course of time, been added, by conquest or peaceful colonisa- 
tion, Angles from the shores of the Firth of Forth, Picts who had 
burst through the wall of Antoninus, Scots of Irish descent from 
Argyle, immigrants of Anglo-Danish lineage, Anglo-Saxon and 
Anglo-Norman chiefs introduced as feudatories of the crown, 
and, last of all, as is believed, Flemings expelled by an injudi- 
cious policy from England. Such was the heterogeneous mixture 
of inhabitants in this small county seven hundred years ago. 
Society, with many tokens of advancement, had not yet been 
harmoniously blended. The Lowland Scotch variety of the 
Anglo-Saxon speech, still uncouth, was only beginning to pre- 
dominate. Few persons had surnames. Many were in the 
condition of vileyns or serfs, and were transferred along with the 
lands to which they happened to be heritably attached. 

What chiefly calls for remark in a review of these early times, 
is the entire disappearance of the aborigines. Sinking by an 
inevitable law under the influence of men of higher mental type 
and superior culture, they seem gradually to have been absorbed 
in the general population, and, as a separate race, are heard of 
for the last time about the end of the twelfth century. Certain 


charters of Malcolm IV. and his brother William the Lion, are 
addressed to the people of Strathclyde, Tweeddale, and other 
parts of the bishopric of Glasgow ; as ' Francis, Anglis, Scottis, 
Walensibus, et Galwensibus,' by whom are meant the Norman- 
French, English, Scots, British, and men of Galloway ; whence it is 
evident that, as late as this period, the different races of inhabitants 
were still distinct, and that the aborigines had not disappeared 
as an element in the population. But although ultimately 
obliterated, and leaving no other visible trace of their existence 
than a few fragmentary remains, this primitive people, as already 
adverted to, have bequeathed a class of antiquities which will, 
survive through all time the names, not only of places, but of 
hills, rivers, and other physical features of the county. Names 
are, indeed, the greatest antiquarian curiosity in Peeblesshire, 
and in themselves tell the history of the county. In our topo- 
graphical details, this will have more special notice ; here it will 
be sufficient to present a few general illustrations. 

It will be borne in mind that the original British, Picts, and 
Scoto-Irish were only varieties of Celts, and spoke dialects of 
a common language, now represented by Welsh, Gaelic, and 
Irish. To these three dialects, therefore, belong the older class of 
names in Peeblesshire, and there being a considerable similarity 
between them, it is not always practicable to say distinctly by 
what branch of the Celts the names were imparted. Some are 
conspicuously British, and none more so than the name Peebles, 
which carries us back to that remote period when the inhabitants 
lived as Bedouins of the desert, and planted their tents on spots 
recommended by their fertility and proximity to water. Pabell, 
in British, signified a movable habitation, a tent, or pavilion the 
plural being Pebyll, 1 which would thus mean tents, and be applied 
to the place where they were pitched. The first corruption of 
the name consisted in adding s, apparently to give a satisfactory 
completeness to the word. For ages, the name was written 
Peblis, the insertion of the double e being recent. Whether 

1 Owen's Wdsh Dictionary, 2 vols. 410, 1803. 


Pabell can be traced to the same root as that of the Latin 
Papilio, a pavilion or tent, might form the subject of interesting 
etymological investigation. 1 

The names of the rivers are mostly British. Tweed is usually 
traced to Tuedd, signifying that which lies on a border or bound- 
ary ; and if that be the true meaning, the boundary must have 
been that between ancient tribes, for the term was in use long 
before the division of the island into England and Scotland. 
Lyne appears to be derived from the British Llyn, a pool 
numberless names of rivers having a similar origin. Medwin, 
Medwyn, or Maidwan, imports that which flows softly (Sanscrit 
Mid, Latin Mitts). Qttair signifies a stream with a winding 
course. Leithen is from the British Lleitho, to moisten or over- 
flow; such being the root of several names of rivers besides 
that in Peeblesshire. Garvald is generally thought to be from 
Garw, rough or violent, and alt, a rivulet the rough-flowing 

Among the Celtic roots embraced in the names in the county 
are Ard or Urd, a height (Kirkurd) ; Car or Caer, a castle or 
fort (Cardon, Caerlee) ; Dun, a hill ; Dean, a ravine ; Pen, 
a peaked and conspicuous mountain (Pen Valla, Lee Pen) ; 
Coille, a wood (Kailzie) ; Brae, a brow or acclivity ; Cam or 
Cairn, a monumental heap of stones (Cairnmuir) ; Kil, a 
chapel (Kilbucho) ; Tor, a swelling mount (Torwood, Torheune) ; 
Glen, a valley through which water flows ; Tra or Tre, in 
British, a dwelling or hamlet (Traquair, Trahenna) ; Inver, 
upon a river (Innerleithen) ; Drum, a ridge (Drummelzier) ; 
and Knock, a hillock. The term Coom or Coomb, applied to a 
curved or arched piece of ground, is found in the county, and is 
from the British cum ; the Welsh cwym, Gaelic cam, Latin cymba, 
and French combe having the same meaning. Glac, a small 

1 Papilio, a pavilion or tent, is ordinarily traced to Papilio, a butterfly, from a 
fancied resemblance between a tent and the drooping wings of a butterfly, when the 
insect has alighted. But this is only one stage in the investigation. Whence 
Papilio, as the name for butterfly? We have above hinted at the possibility of 
tracing Papilio and Pabell to the same Asiatic root; thereby strictly identifying the 
name Peebles with the English word Pavilions. 


hollow (The Glack'); Cloiche, stones, or rocks (The Cloich); 
Racan, arable land (Rachan) ; Rath, a cleared space, also signify- 
ing a fortress (Glenrath) ; Bo-alt, the cow stream or ford (Bold, 
formerly spelled Boild) were, with many other terms, contri- 
buted by a Celtic people. 

From the Danish language come the affixes by and fell. By 
originally denoted an estate or farm ; then it was applied to a 
cluster of farm-buildings ; and lastly, under its Norwegian form of 
Beer, it originated the Lowland Scotch word byre, a cow-house. 
The affix by or bie is common in Cumberland (as Kirkby, 
Netherbie) ; in Peeblesshire, we see it in Newby. Fell (Danish, 
Fjeld} is seen in Hartfell, on the extremity of the county. The 
Danish affixes beck, thorpe, and thwaite do not occur in Peebles- 
shire. Perhaps we might except thwaite, for Moorfoot, the name 
of a range of hills beginning in Tweeddale, and extended into 
Edinburghshire, was anciently written Morthwaite. The term 
gill (the g hard), signifying a mountain recess, claims a similar 
origin (Islandic, gil), though perhaps remotely allied to the Celtic 
cuile, a corner. Gill occurs in Chaple-gill, also in Baddinsgill, a 
corruption of Baldwin's-gill. 

The resemblance between many words in Norwegian, Danish, 
and old Saxon, renders it difficult to assign a distinct origin to 
certain names. No affix is more common in Peeblesshire than 
Hope, as Soonhope, Gaithope, Waddenshope, &c. The meaning 
of the term is a valley among the hills, closed at one end, a cul- 
de-sac ; literally, it denotes a haven or place of refuge (Islandic, 
Hop}, in which sense it is applied to various maritime resorts. 
Hope was formerly used also as a prefix for example, in 
Hopkailzie, the old name of Kailzie. Another term of this 
Teutonic lineage is Kipp, applied to the pointed summit of a 
hill ; as Shielgreen Kipps, Newby Kipps (Anglo-Saxon Ccepe, 
and German Kippe, a point or peak). Law, a hill wholly or 
partially isolated, is seen in Venlaw, Dollarlaw, and Broadlaw. 
The name Nidpath, or Neidpath, is of uncertain origin. Some 
might be disposed to trace the prefix to the British Nyddu, to 
twist or turn, in which case the meaning of the word would be, 


the winding-path a definition that would fairly apply to the 
spot. But this is not a probable etymology ; it might be quite 
as rationally conjectured that the prefix is from the Danish Nod 
(the o pronounced as the French ), signifying nolt or neat-cattle 
a road used by cattle. In Peeblesshire, as in the south of 
Scotland generally, Haugh, signifying a rich arable field on the 
border of a river, is of frequent occurrence, both as applied to 
ordinary fields of this class, and in names of places (Whitehaugh, 
Fernihaugh). The origin of the term is doubtful ; some trace it 
to the Gaelic achadh, but as the oldest known form of the word 
was halech, it has an affinity to the English hollow, and hence is 
more probably Teutonic. 

The affix ' ton,' occurring in the name of a place, ordinarily 
marks its connection with a personage of Anglo-Saxon origin. 
Thus, Eadulf, an Anglo-Saxon settler, communicated his name 
to a vil or ton, which is now known as Eddleston. In like 
manner, settlers named Cruke, Greve, Kyde, Molk, Orme, 
Stephen, and Wynke, respectively originated the designations 
Crookston, Grieston, Kidston, Milkiston, Ormiston, Stevenston, 
and Winkston the transitions to these latter forms of the words 
being recognisable in deeds dated two centuries ago, when we 
see Milkiston written Molkiston ; Kidston, Kydiston ; and 
Grieston, Greviston. Greve, as is well known, was an Anglo- 
Saxon designation of a public officer, perpetuated in the Scotch 
term grieve, a farm-overseer, and in the surname Grieve. The 
g being dropped, the word is found modernised in borough-reeve 
and shire-reeve (sheriff). The Greves of Greviston may have 
been so called from the office which they held immediately after 
the Anglo-Saxon settlement. 

Names incorporating burgh or brough are traceable to a 
similar origin. Thus, a settler presumedly named Orse, or 
Horse, built a burg or castle, which being styled Horsburgh or 
Horsbrugh, originated that surname. It would be easy to multiply 
instances of this kind. Names incorporating chapel, dale, field, 
hall, head, hill, house, kirk, land, myre, shaw, side, spital, syke, 
wick, and yards, are of a date coeval with, or subsequent to, the 


Anglo-Saxon settlement. In the same category, we might 
include swire or sware, from the Anglo-Saxon, signifying a neck 
or pass on the top of a mountain (Manor Sware). 

It should be added, that those who are disposed to trace the 
etymologies of names of places in Peeblesshire, as in other parts 
of the country, will need to guard against the illusions of modern 
orthography, for neglect on this score, aided by the popular 
imagination, has led to numberless absurd though amusing 

The changes which have swept over Tweeddale in the course 
of seven centuries, leave little to connect the past with the present 
family history of the county. Lands have, for the greater part, 
changed proprietors repeatedly, and so many new names have 
been introduced by marriage or purchase, that we can discern 
few living traces of the feudal investitures of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries. The names of places, however, add their 
testimony to that of public documents respecting the settlers of 
a comparatively old date. As lately as the reign of Alexander 
III., many of the proprietors were known only by their Christian 
names in association with their places of residence ; as, for 
example, Adam of Orde or Horde, Clement of Hopkeiloc, and 
John of Tuedy. Whether these and others so designated were 
of foreign race, cannot now be satisfactorily known. 

The Tweedies of Drummelzier, admittedly of great antiquity, 
whatever may be their origin, disappeared in the seventeenth 
century ; and how many other families of note have also vanished 
from the county, will become apparent in our topographical 
department. Of the Vermels or Uermels of Romanno, the 
Vaches or Veitches of Dawick, the Geddeses of Rachan, the 
Haswells and Baddebies of Manor, and the Erasers of Neidpath, 
there is now as little trace as of the Eadulfs, Cruikes, Ormes, 
Molks, Kydes, and others who bequeathed names to places in 
the county. The Hays of Yester, afterwards Earls of Tweeddale, 
who by marriage enjoyed the inheritance of the Erasers, quitted 
Peeblesshire in the seventeenth century. The Douglases, 
Earls of March, who succeeded them by purchase, are now 


merged in the Earls of Wemyss, who do not reside in the 
county. The Bardes or Bairds of Posso have been merged 
by marriage in the Naesmyths of Posso and Dawick. The 
Burnets of Burnetland and Barns, an ancient family, relin- 
quished their possessions only in our own times. In short, the 
scarcity of extremely old families is as remarkable in Peebles- 
shire as in the south of Scotland generally. Apparently, the 
oldest in the shire, in an unbroken line, and in occupancy of the 
original property, is the family of Horsbrugh of that Ilk. Some 
old families are represented by surviving collateral branches. 
The Hays of Haystoun connect themselves with an early branch 
of the Hays of Yester ; and the Murrays, Lords Elibank, trace 
their origin to the Morefs or Moravias, through the Murrays of 
Blackbarony. Peebles offers some examples of old families, 
among others, that of Chambers, who might trace their con- 
nection with the burgh since the reign of Alexander III. ; such 
affording a curious instance of residence in the same spot 
upwards of five hundred years, and perhaps nothing could be 
advanced so illustrative of the hitherto settled character of this 
ancient community. 


DURING the peaceful and prosperous reign of Alexander 
III., a valuation of lands throughout the kingdom was 
framed, which is still known as the ' Old Extent.' As 
regards temporal lands, there is no precise account of the method 
of valuation, but the plan for valuing the spiritual lands is 
well known. In 1275, Pope Gregory X. made a demand on 
the Scottish clergy of a tenth of all their ecclesiastical 
revenues for six years, for the relief of the Holy Land. For the 
purpose of collecting the tax, he sent to Scotland the person so 
famous in after-ages under the name of Bagimont (Magister 
Baiamundus)^; 1 and the roll which he made up became the Extent 
or rule of assessment of the lands referred to. The subject is 
only mentioned here for the purpose of stating that, according to 
the Old Extent, every separate piece of land in Peeblesshire, as 
elsewhere, became known as being of a particular value, which 
till this day attaches to it as a ' ten-pound land,' a ' five-pound 
land,' a ' fifty-shilling land ' of the Old Extent, and so on. The 
entire annual valued rental of the lands in the county, according 
to this Old Extent, was ^"1274, i8s. 6d. 

1 See Memorial for Thomas Cranstoun of Dewar, Esq., against Archibald Gibson, 
Esq. an exceedingly able law-paper in a Court of Session process (1816), drawn up 
by the late Thomas Thomson, Deputy Lord Clerk Register, and which gives an 
elaborate account of the Old Extent 


The distractions consequent on the demise of Alexander III. 
soon had a detrimental effect on the value of property. Peebles- 
shire was happily out of the heat of the struggle for the crown, 
but did not escape its effects. The town and county, influenced 
possibly by the Erasers, inclined to the claims of Baliol, yet any 
tendency in this direction saved neither gentry nor burgesses 
from being obliged, along with others throughout Scotland, to 
swear fealty to Edward I., chiefly at Berwick, between the years 
1291 and 1296. The instruments of homage, which are pre- 
served, though in a mutilated state, among the State Papers of 
England, have happily been copied with care, and printed as a 
volume by the Bannatyne Club, from which an opportunity is 
afforded of seeing the names of those who attested their alle- 
giance to the greatest of the Plantagenets, the ' Hammer of the 
Scots.' The records are usually known by the uncouth title of 
the RAGMAN ROLLS. In the prefatory note to the printed copy 
just referred to, the editor says : ' It has been long known that 
in these records may be found the largest and most authentic 
enumeration extant of the nobility, barons, landholders, and 
burgesses, as well as of the clergy of Scotland, prior to the 
fourteenth century. No part of the public records of Scotland 
prior to that era has been preserved, from which any detailed 
information of this kind might have been derived ; and whatever 
may have been their fate, whether intentionally destroyed, or 
allowed to perish by mere neglect, certain it is, that to these 
English records of our temporary national degradation are we 
now indebted for the only genuine statistical notices of the 
kingdom towards the close of the thirteenth century.' The 
records are in the form of a succession of documents, partly in 
Latin and partly in Norman-French ; the persons concerned 
presenting themselves in groups from some particular part of the 
country, or more miscellaneously along with others. To discover 
who from Peeblesshire subscribed the instruments, it is necessary 
to go over the whole book, and select them where they occur, 
though, after all, the list which can be so made up is far from 
perfect. The first name to be recognised is that of Symon 


Eraser, which appears in the roll for 1291, among the names of 
the leading barons and ecclesiastics. In the roll for 1296, the 
following are given as connected with the town or county. We 
begin by copying exactly the paragraph which embraces the 
names of the persons belonging to Peebles. 

' Item, A tous ceaus qui cestes lettres veront ou orront 
William de la Chaumbre Bailif e Burgois de Pebbles, Johan 
Vicaire del Eglise de Pebbles, Adam de Hord, David le fiz 
Andrew, Nichol Northincheton, Reinaud Hardegrepes, Johan le 
fiz Wautier Gretheud, Henry Rauesmaugh, Symond le Frere 
Wautier, Symond le fiz Geffrey, Pieres le fiz Geffrey, e Roger 
Blind Burgois, e tote la communaute de Pebbles, saluz. Pur 
ceo' [&c., consisting of the declaration that, for themselves and 
their heirs, they pledge their faith and amity to Edward, the 
king of England, and his heirs ; in testimony of which they 
swear on the Holy Evangels]. 

The other names connected with Peeblesshire are mixed up 
with miscellaneous groups, as follows : * William Freser, Thomas 
de la Chaundel, William de Maleuill del Counte de Pebles, 
Patrik de Maleuill, William Perel, Roger le Mareschal, William 
de Maleuill, William de Creleng, Wautier Lillok, Thomas Lillok, 
Rogier de Mohaut, Rauf del Pount de Pebbles, Hugh of the 
Leigg, William de Hopkeliogh, Johan le Naper, Adam Le Feure 
de Ersledoun, William Forneys, tenauntz le Roi du Counte de 
Pebbles. Wautier Comyn de Counte de Pebbles. Thomas 
Walgh del Counte de Pebbles. Robert de Hastinges, Adam 
de Pendenau, Johan Flemyng, Erchebaud de Moref, William de 
Appleton, Johan de Hatal, Johan de Meldon, William Wywun- 
desone, Laurence Fresel, Johan Hope, Malcolm Erchebaudessone, 
Thomas Buntyng, Osbern Chartres, William Baret, Thomas de 
Ledyorde, Alisaundre Dudyn, Laurenz atte Boure, Nicol Kerre, 
Andreu le Seeler, Esteuene de Glenwhym, Thomas le Louerd, 
Bernard de Mouhat, Alisaundre de Droghkil, Jacob Freman, 
Johan Gilberdessone, Adam Louely, William le Vache, Cristin 
Lockard, Gibbert Darel, Johan Eyr de Mespennon, Robert 
de Threpeland, Esteuene de Steuenston, William de Erth, 


William Frisith, Anable de Cambos, del Counte de Pebbles. 
Adam de Horde, del Counte de Pebbles. Wautier le Scot, del 
Counte de Pebbles. William del Skrogges, Patrik del Gyle, 
William fiz Richard, del Counte de Pebbles. Johan de Lil- 
leselyue del Counte de Pebbles, Wautier Comyn del Counte de 
Pebbles. Johan de Baddeby del Counte de Pebbles. Meihel de 
Dunde persone del Eglise de Stubbehok, Frere Thomas mistre 
de la meson de la Seinte Croice de Pebbles, Mistre Richard 
de Boulden persone del Eglise de Edalston, Thomas Lillok, del 
Counte de Pebbles.' 

On the most careful examination, we fail to discover the 
names of certain old families which might have been expected 
to be in one or other of the rolls ; but this is perhaps to be 
accounted for by imperfect transcription, or the loss of some of 
the documents. The volume from which we copy, contains no 
names of female land-proprietors, a deficiency compensated by 
a 'list of ladies who swore allegiance to the king of England in 
1296, transcribed from the original in the Tower of London,' and 
printed in Borthwick's Inquiry into Feudal Dignities? also in the 
Rotuli Scotia. The list comprises the names of thirty-four 
proprietresses, among whom appears ' Sarra of Glen, Peeblesshire.' 

Incomplete as the different rolls may happen to be, they are 
full of interest. The names of several places will be recognised 
Leigg or Lee ; Hopkeliogh or Kailzie ; Orde or Horde [Kirk- 
urd] ; Ladyurd ; Stubbehok or Stobo ; Edalston or Eddleston ; 
Thriepland ; Mosfennan; Drochil; Glenholme; and Stevenston. 
The Le Vaches or Veitches, as already noted, were long posses- 
sors of Dawick. In ' Erchebaud de Moref,' we see the progeni- 
tor of the Hurrays. ' Frisel ' is recognised as the old form of 
Fraser. Only a few in the roll had surnames. Several are distin- 
guished as the fiz or son of their father; the names of these 
being in a state of transition, the son of Andrew becomes 
Anderson, and the son of Geoffrey turns into Jefferson. Others 
are on the eve of change : William de la Chaumbre undergoes a 

'Edinburgh, i vol. 8vo, 1775. 


transformation into William Chambers, and Le Naper becomes 
Napier. 1 John the vicar of the church, and Rauf the keeper of 
the bridge, are known by their professions. Readers may find 
some amusement in trying to connect old with modern names 
as Walgh with Waugh, Lillok with Lillie, and Frisith with 
Forsyth. 2 

Edward I. is known to have visited Peebles, and to have 
granted charters dated from its royal castle. In 1304, he assigned 
Peebles with its mill and other pertinents to Aymer de Valence, 
his warden of Scotland. It is not unreasonable to suppose that 
gifts of this nature were recalled by Robert Bruce, styled 
Robert I., who gave large grants to his faithful adherents the 
Douglases. Robert I. is known to have granted a charter to the 
burgh of Peebles, including freedom to hold a fair ; but the docu- 
ment is among the missing state records. 8 In the year in which 
Bruce died, 1329, Peebles was visited by his son, Prince David, 4 
then a boy of six years of age, who ascended the throne as 
David II., and during the early years of whose minority the 
government was conducted by Randolph Earl of Moray. 
Whether the prince visited Peebles for the sake of his health 

1 We have an amusing instance of the fabulous origin of names in the popular 
account of the origin of the ancient and honourable family of Napier : ' King David II. 
(so goes the story), in his wars with the English, about the year 1334, assembling his 
subjects to battle, the Earl of Lennox sent his second son, Donald, with such forces as 
his duty required. In an engagement which followed, the Scots gave way, when 
Donald, taking his father's standard from the bearer, and valiantly charging the enemy 
with the Lennox-men, the fortune of battle changed, and they obtained the victory. 
When the battle was over, every chief advanced and reported his acts; according to 
custom, to the king, who declared that they all behaved valiantly, but that there was 
one among them who had nae pier, or no equal ; upon which, Donald took the name 
of NAPIER, and had, in reward for his good services, the lands of Gosfield and other 
estates in the county of Fife. ' It is unfortunate for this ingenious narrative, that there 
was a ' Johan le Naper ' in the county of Peebles, and also a ' Mathew le Naper de 
Aghelek,' in the county of Forfar, both of whom appear in the Ragman Roll in 1296, 
five-and-twenty years before the birth of David II. 

* The corruption of names, arising from a tendency to abbreviate and to adopt 
leading sounds, is conspicuous in the following instances, some of which occur in the 
Ragman Roll Montfitchet, is transformed into Muschet, Montalt into Mouhat or 
Mowat, Vache into Veitch, Baddeby into Baptie, Vermel into Wurmel, and Grosse- 
teste (Greathead) into Grozet. 

3 Robertson's Index to the Charters, p. 1 5, No. 4. 

* Chamberlain Rolls, vol. i. p. 62. 


for in old times the town was a favourite country retreat of 
royalty or as a matter of amusement at the Beltane festival, 
cannot now be known. 

During his temporary and imperfect possession of Scotland, 
consequent on the battle of Halidon Hill, Edward Baliol, in 
1334, surrendered to Edward III. a large portion of the south of 
Scotland, including the county of Peebles. 1 The north-western 
boundaries of the ceded territory were to be Carlops, and the 
hill of Crosscryne ; so says Wynton in his rhyming Chronicle 

' At Karlynlippis and at Cros-cryne, 
Thare thai made the marches syne.' 

It cannot be supposed that the people of Peeblesshire relished 
this transfer, for the country was overrun by an English force, 
which made many heavy exactions. The return of David II. 
from France, where he had been educated, imparted a gleam of 
hope to Scotland, but his disastrous defeat at the battle of Durham, 
1 346, when he was taken prisoner and carried to London, threw 
the country back to its former deplorable condition. Negotia- 
tions for peace and the ransom and delivery of David having 
taken place in 1356, a parliament met next year to ratify the 
stipulations. To this important assemblage of the Scottish 
Estates, Peebles deputed two commissioners, ' Nicholas the son 
of John, and John the son of William' such being, perhaps, the 
first time representatives were ever sent from Peebles. By the 
arrangements on this occasion, the English claims on Scotland 
were finally extinguished. Perhaps with the view of insuring 
the loyalty of the burgh, and affording it the means of better 
defence as a border town, David II. confirmed its former 
privileges, and constituted it a royal burgh by charter, dated 
24th September 1367. 

There was a need for every such encouragement. The wars of 
the succession had produced wide-spread desolation, many lands 
had gone out of culture, woods the pride of the country had been 
partially destroyed and sunk to waste, leaving in their place 

1 llailes's Annals of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 210. 


marshes with decaying timber, which, in the course of nature, 
were transformed into those dismal peat-mosses which disfigured 
the landscape until reclaimed by the operations of the agricul- 
turist. Bands of impoverished and houseless natives wandered 
about as beggars or robbers ; and from this time until after the 
union of the crowns, whether England and Scotland were at war 
or peace, the vale of Tweed was exposed to a constant succession 
of wasteful and marauding expeditions. In the space of a 
century, the annual value of the lands in the county diminished 
a third. From 1274, IBs. 6d., according to the Old Extent, 
the value in 1368 had fallen to 863, 13^. ^d. 

Secluded in the bosom of a mountainous country, at the 
distance of fifty miles from the border, Peebles and the district 
around it were not exposed to such frequent forays as Jedburgh, 
Kelso, and Melrose. Neither town nor country, however, was 
exempted from these predatory visits, and freebooters from the 
border swept the country of its cattle, and all they could lay 
their hands on as far as the head of Eddleston Water and the 
Kingside Edge. As regards professed warfare, the whole country 
along the Tweed occasionally suffered a species of temporary 
desolation, not only by the vengeance of invaders, but by the 
natives laying everything waste on the approach of the enemy. 
This continued (says a master of the subject) ' to be the Scottish 
defensive system for many ages, and of course, while it exposed 
invaders to hardships, loss, and want of subsistence, it reduced 
the frontiers of their own countiy, for the time, to a desert waste. 
Beacons were lighted in such a manner as to signify either the 
threatened approach, or actual arrival, of the English army. 
These were maintained by Hume Castle, at the tower of Edgers- 
hope or Edgerstane, near the sources of the Jed, upon the ridge 
of the Soltra Hills, at Dunbar, Dunpender (or Trapraine) Law, 
North Berwick Law, and other eminences ; and their light was a 
signal for the Scottish forces to assemble at Edinburgh and 
Haddington, abandoning to waste and pillage all the southern 
counties." ' 

1 Border Antiquities, by Sir Walter Scott, vol. i. p. 55. 


The feudal fortlets of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 
were now strengthened, if not increased in number, and to these 
Peel or Bastel Houses, all who could conveniently do so fled for 
refuge on the signal of invasion. These old castles, now generally 
in ruin, constitute a remarkable class of antiquities in the county. 
Among the oldest is Neidpath, but the additions made to it have 
disguised or masked its original character. Traquair has under- 
gone a similar change. The castle of Peebles is entirely gone, 
its site being occupied by the church and a bowling-green. The 
other buildings of this kind consist of strong Peel Houses, by 
no means elegant in appearance, but rugged, stern, and gray, 
and which, though in ruin, still seem to offer defiance to the 
action of the weather. None of these buildings approaches in 
size or grandeur to Naworth, Hermitage, or Tantallon. Peebles- 
shire had no titled barons of an early date. During the border 
wars, its proprietors were chiefly of the rank of lairds, 1 of 
whom a few were knights, possessing considerable local power 
through allied kindred. Their castles were, for the greater 
part, of the ordinary peel-house character three stories in 
height, each story consisting of an arched vault, with a narrow 
stair winding up in one corner to the top. The walls were of 
excessive thickness, four to five feet being common ; and they 
were provided with doors strongly studded with iron. The 
general absence of sandstone in the county caused these 
peels to be constructed entirely of the dark grauwacke stone, 
in small, irregular-shaped pieces, bound by a lime cement 
of immense durability. The accommodation offered by these 
dwellings must have been exceedingly limited ; for, setting 
aside the lower vault for cattle, the two upper apartments 
alone remained for the family. But as each of these apart- 
ments is usually not more than twelve feet square, it is more 

1 The Scotch term, laird, is synonymous with the lord, dominus, or absolute 
proprietor of lands held direct from the crown. If lands be held from a subject- 
superior, as often happens, the proprietor is in legal phraseology a vassal, and no 
matter how extensive his possessions, is in point of social dignity only a goodman or 
yeoman. See Science of Heraldry, book i. , chap. 2 ; also Sir George Mackenzie's 
Works* vol. ii. 


than probable that the chief members of the household, or at 
least the armed retainers, lived outside in huts, and resorted 
to the tower only as a temporary refuge. Each of the upper 
floors had a capacious fireplace and chimney, and was provided 
with apertures they can scarcely be called windows to admit 
air and light. On the summit was a small bartizan or point of 
outlook, on which was an iron grate containing fuel ready to 
be lit as a bail-fire to give signal of approaching danger. In 
general, the towers were provided with a quadrangular court- 
yard, in front, surrounded with a wall, the gate of which would 
of course require to be forced before an assault could be made 
on the grated door. The lines in the Eve of St John will 
occur to remembrance 

' He pass'd the court-gate, and oped the tower-grate, 

And he mounted the narrow stair, 

To the bartizan-seat, where, with maids that on her wait, 
He found his lady fair. ' 

On the line of the Tweed with its lateral valleys, the towers are 
placed at intervals of a mile to two miles, from the lower to the 
higher parts of the county. On the side of a hill, within the 
verge of Selkirkshire, stands the ruin of Elibank Tower, of 
greater than ordinary dimensions, which was once the seat 
of the Murrays, and now gives title to the Lords Elibank. 
This imposing tower on the south bank looked towards one 
at Holylee, also within Selkirkshire, but on the north bank. 
Thence the communication through Peeblesshire was kept up, 
generally zigzagging across the river, to Scrogbank, Caberstone, 
Bold, Flora, Purvis Hill, Pirn, Traquair, Grieston, Ormiston, 
Cardrona, Nether Horsburgh, Horsburgh, Peebles, and Neidpath. 
At Peebles, signals went northwards to Smithfield, Hutchinfield, 
Shielgreen, Foulage, Cringletie, Blackbarony, and the high 
grounds on the borders of Mid-Lothian. Southwards, Peebles 
communicated with Haystoun. Pursuing the course of the 
river upwards, Neidpath was seen at Caverhill, which sent 
signals up Manor Water, and also to Barns, whence there were 
communications with Lyne, Easter Happrew, Dawick, Stobo, 


Dreva, Tinnis, Drummelzier, Stenhope, Quarter, Wrae, Mos- 
fennan, Kingledoors, Oliver Castle, Polmood, and Hawkshaw. 
Ascending the Lyne, there were towers to be communicated 
with at Wester Happrew, Stevenston, Callands, Kirkurd, and 
Skirling ; also Romanno, Halmyre, Carlops, Coldcoat, Briglands, 
Whiteford, and probably some other places. 

From this hasty sketch, it will be seen how, according to a 
rude species of telegraphing, by means of smoke by day and fire 
by night, aided as the towers were by certain hill-top signals, it 
was practicable to rouse the whole county in a short space of 
time. It was one of the ancient laws on the marches, that ' he 
who did not join the array of the country upon the signal of 
the beacon-lights, or who left it during the continuance of the 
English invasion without lawful excuse, should suffer forfeiture 
of his goods, and have his person placed at the warden's will.' 

Fig. 16. Cardrona Tower in ruins. 

In order to shew the general appearance of the old castles in 
the county, we offer a sketch of that of Cardrona. One of the 
most picturesque of the series, it is situated on the face of a hill, 


overlooking the Tweed, parish of Traquair, and was anciently 
the seat of the Govans, but now belongs to the family of 

For security against hostile intrusion, the inhabitants of 
Peebles endeavoured to environ their town with a wall, which, 
in its earlier forms, however, consisted only of a continuation of 
dykes at the foot of the gardens belonging to the different 
proprietors ; and the obligation to keep their respective dykes in 
repair appears from the burgh records to have been imposed as a 
public duty. It need hardly be said that this species of fortifica- 
tion could have offered no serious obstacle to a strong body of 
invaders. For further security, the dwellings of the inhabitants 
were constructed with the lower floor in the form of an arched 
vault. Scott, in his Border Antiquities, speaks of the number of 
bastel-houses in Jedburgh, Melrose, and Lessudden, this last 
place having as many as ' sixteen strong bastel-houses when 
burned by Sir Ralph Evers in 1544.' We know not from any 
authority how many were the strengths of this kind in Peebles, 
nor what was their height. Altered in the course of successive 
improvements, the bastel-houses in Peebles have not within 

memory consisted of more than two 
to three stories, and exteriorly were 
unpretending thatched houses. The 
only vaulted floor was that level with 
the ground ; it was provided with a 
low arched doorway, such as is repre- 
sented in fig. 17, but with no access 
to the floor above, that having been 
by an outside stair. Originally, the 
stair may have been of wood, and 
Door of a Bastel-house, removable on signs of danger. The 
roof, we believe, was invariably of 
was so easily fired by an enemy, that the 
a border town was readily accomplished ; but 

Fig. 17. 


thatch, which 

burning of 

thatching had this advantage, that in cases of desperation, 

the inhabitants tore the roofs from their dwellings, and 


piling the materials in the street, set the whole on fire, in 
order to stifle and interrupt the progress of the invaders. A 
scene of this kind, with thatch blazing, and swords and lances 
gleaming, accompanied with shouts of assault and defiance, is 
required to fill up the picture of past times in Peebles. One 
can almost fancy the scene of consternation which occurred 
in one of these border forays at the beginning of the fifteenth 

About 1406, in the course of the wars which marked so dis- 
mally the regency of the Duke of Albany, Sir Robert Umphra- 
ville, Vice-admiral of England, made an incursion into Scotland, 
and attacking the town of Peebles on a market-day, made great 
spoil of the wares there collected, causing his men to measure out 
the cloth with their bows and spears. According to Hardyng's 
Chronicle, Umphraville acquired from this fact the name of 
Robin Mendmarket 

At Peebles .... 

He brent the town upon thair market-day, 
And mete their cloth with spears and bows sere, 
By his bidding without any nay ; 
Wherefore the Scots from thenceforward ay 
Called him Robin Mendmarket in certain, 
For his measures were so large and plain. 

According to other authors, he acquired the name in consequence 
of a foray which he made by sea four years later, when a dearth 
prevailing in England, he returned with such store of victual as 
to bring down prices. The once powerful Northumberland 
family of Umphraville has decayed and gone out in extreme 
poverty. One of the last of the family, Mr William Umfreville, 
keeper of St Nicolas's Workhouse, Newcastle, died in indigent 
circumstances in 1789. He possessed what was said to be the 
sword of the Sir Robert who assaulted Peebles in the manner 

Shortly after the event just related, considerable light is 
thrown on the history of Peebles, in consequence of its connection 
with the very interesting poem entitled Peebles to the Play, 
ascribed to James I. of Scotland, who has given more celebrity 



to the town by this literary production than any person in 
ancient or modern times. James was the second son of Robert 
III., and was born in 1393. In consequence of the murder of 
his elder brother, David, he became the heir to the throne, and 
while a boy of ten years of age, he was sent by his old and infirm 
father to be educated at the court of France. On his voyage 
thither, he was captured by an English squadron, and taken 
prisoner to London, where, by orders of Henry IV., he was 
confined two years. Afterwards liberated from strict confinement, 
he was still, contrary to international law, and, as is believed, at 
the instance of his uncle, the Duke of Albany, now Regent 
of Scotland, retained as a prisoner for fifteen years. The 
injustice of his seizure and confinement, as has been said by 
Walpole, was amply compensated by the generous attention 
bestowed on his education. Favoured by natural genius, James 

became a prodigy of talents and 
accomplishments. He is said to 
have been a proficient in every 
branch of polite literature ; in 
grammar, oratory, Latin and 
English poetry, music, jurisprud- 
ence, and the philosophy of his 
times. In all athletic exercises, 
particularly in the use of the 
sword and spear, he was emi- 
nently expert ; and his dexterity 
in tilts and tournaments, in 
wrestling, in archery, and in the 
sports of the field, was perfectly 
unrivalled. 1 

On the death of Albany, and by payment of a heavy ransom, 
James was restored to his Scottish subjects ; his liberation being 
signalised by his marriage with Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of 
John Earl of Somerset, to whom he had become attached during 

Fig. 1 8. 

1 Royal and Noble Authors, hy Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford, v. 5. 


his captivity. James I. was crowned in 1424, and his poem of 
Peebles to the Play was in all probability suggested by his visits 
to Peebles during the ensuing ten years. The date of the piece 
may be referred to about 1430, at which period the ecclesiastical 
establishments of Peebles were in their glory, and the town was 
rendered attractive by a famous anniversary of rural sports on 
Beltane-day, or the ist of May. For the accommodation of the 
royal retinue on such occasions, there was some choice in the 
convent of the Cross Church, and the house of the dean of 
Peebles ; also the ancient castle connected with the town, and 
the adjoining castles of Neidpath and Smithfield. The festivities 
of Beltane originated in the ceremonial observances of the 
original British people, who lighted fires on the tops of hills and 
other places in honour of their deity Baal ; hence Beltane or 
Beltien, signifying the fire of Baal. 1 The superstitious usage 
disappeared in the progress of Christianity, but certain festive 
customs on the occasion were confirmed and amplified, and the 
rural sports of Beltane at Peebles, including archery and horse- 
racing, with much holiday fun and jollity, drew crowds not only 
from the immediate neighbourhood, but from Edinburgh and 
other places at a distance. 

The festival of Beltane was so conformable to James's good- 
humour and love of manly sports, that we can easily understand 
how he should have loved to visit Peebles, and be a witness, if 
not partaker, in the scene of amusement. Nor are we to forget 
that, in commemorating the revelries, he shews an acquaintance- 
ship with various places in the neighbourhood, and also of the 
language and manners of the people, which could scarcely have 
been obtained by report. If he wrote the poem at all, he did so 
from personal observation, and that he was its composer, is 
generally acknowledged. 

The poem of Peebles to the Play commences with a gathering 

1 The term Beltein or Beltane is derived from Beal or Reil, the Celtic god of light, 
or sun-god, a deity mentioned by Ausonius (309-392 A.D.), and tin or /', fire. 
This heathen festival was once . common to all the Celtic nations, and had been 
brought by them from the East. See Chambers's Encyclopedia, article BELTEIN. 


of the people from all parts of the adjacent country to attend the 
fair or festival. We may quote a few verses of this curious old 
poem, only modernising the spelling. It thus begins : 

' At Beltane, when ilk body bounds 

To Peebles to the Play, 
To hear the singing and the sounds, 

Their solace, sooth to say. 
By firth and forest forth they found, 

They graithit them full gay ; 
God wait that wold they do that stound, 
For it was their feast-day, 

They said, 
Of Peebles to the Play. 

All the wenches of the west 

Were up ere the cock crew : 
For reeling there might nae man rest, 

For garray 1 nor for glew.' 2 

Various places which still retain their old names in the neigh- 
bourhood, are referred to as furnishing detachments of the 
company : 

' Hope-Cailye and Cardrona, 

Gatherit out thick fald, 
With " Hey and howe, rohumbelow." 3 

The young folks were full bald. 
The bagpipe blew, and they out-threw 

Out of the towns untald : 
And sic ane schout was there amang, 
When they were ower the wald, 

There west, 
At Peebles to the Play.' 

A tavern-scene, and a quarrel and fight which there arose, with 
some laughable circumstances, are then described : 

' They thrang out of the door at ance, 

Withouten ony reddin' ; 
Gilbert in ane gutter glayde, 
He gat nae better beddin*. 
There was not ane of them that day 

Wad do ane other's bidden ; 
Thereby lay three-and-thritty-some, 
Trunland in ane middin 

Of draff, 
At Peebles to the Play.' 

1 Garray, preparation, dressing. * Glew, glee. 8 Name of a tune. 


The twenty-sixth stanza concludes the poem : 

' By this the sun was setting fast, 

And near done was the day ; 
There men might hear shakin' of chafts 

When that they went their way. 
Had there been mair made of this sang, 

Mair should I to you say ; 
At Beltane, when ilk body bounds 

To Peebles to the Play.' 

As a literary production of a Scottish monarch in the fifteenth 
century, Peebles to the Play is, in many respects, remarkable. It 
may be observed by those who examine the poem, that it is 
written in the same kind of language as that of Chaucer's 
Pilgrimage to Canterbury, and contains words which, though 
dropped from modern English, are still retained in the Scottish 
vernacular, such as graithit, dressed ; reddin', allaying disorder ; 
cJiafts, jaws ; ilk, every; and so on. An allusion in the poem to 
the ' Holy rood ' points to the veneration in which the cross of 
St Nicholas was held. A fair is still held at Peebles on the 
second Wednesday of May, and called Beltane Fair. As lately 
as the middle of last century, it was distinguished by a horse- 
race, when the magistrates gave a considerable prize. That the 
term Peebles to or at the Play, popularly signified the annual 
festival in the town, is apparent from the opening stanzas of 
Christ Kirk on the Green, a poem, also descriptive of rural 
revelries, ascribed to James V. 

' Was ne'er in Scotland heard nor seen 

Sic dancin' nor deray, 1 
Neither at Falkland on the Green, 
Or Peebles at the Play.' 

In taking leave of the Beltane festival, it is pleasing to know 
that its accomplished commentator, James I., was long retained 
in grateful remembrance by the community of Peebles, as is 
evidenced by their endowment to say a mass daily in the parish 
church, for the soul of the royal poet, who was barbarously 
murdered at Perth, 1437. 

1 Deray, mirthful disorder. 


ESTABLISHED as a royal burgh, and confirmed in ancient 
privileges and possessions by David II., Peebles received 
a renewal of its charter from James II., who ascended the 
throne in 1437 ; and it is during his reign, namely, on the 4th of 
October 1456, that the records of the burgh commence, or, 
more properly, it is from that date that any of them have been 
preserved. Unfortunately, these records, as is not unusual with 
documents of that kind, have suffered such serious damage as 
in many places to be illegible, while large portions, extending 
over many years, are entirely gone. Making use of the records 
as far as practicable, we find a variety of particulars worthy 
of being extracted, not only as illustrative of past manners, but 
as significant of the legislative authority at one time exercised 
in local matters by town-councils. Grouping together at first 
a few extracts, we shall afterwards intersperse them as they may 
be available in our narrative according to date. 1 

1456, Oct. 4. The hed court of the burgh haldyn Monenday the ferd 
day of the monith October ; ye sitting callet, the court affirmit ilk 
absent in amersiment. [Every absent member fined.] B. R. 

Item, In yt ilk day, Will Bullo stud up in ye court, and claimit of 

1 In our extracts from these and other old records, we have deemed it advisable to 
modernise the orthography of some of the words. We likewise generally substitute 
common for Roman numerals. 


William of Peblys a sartan soum of gold and silver quhilk he had gyfen 
him beyond ye se to keip, and ye said Will of Peblys denyit that he 
aweth ayther tyl him gold or silver. [Bailies order the parties to be 
put to their ' grit oth.'] B. R. 

1458, Oct. 2. It was ordained that ony browster that brak prys sail 
be fined for the first faut, a galon of ale ; the neist faut, twa ; the third 
faut, three ; the ford faut, viii s. B. R. 

From innumerable entries of this kind we learn that fines were 
a prolific source of revenue. It would appear that when the 
burghal authorities resolved on any costly public improvement, 
they set about to statute and ordain divers fines, in order to raise 
the requisite funds. There was no lack of matters calling for 
this species of interference ; fights, ' distrowbling,' flyting or scold- 
ing, placing dunghills on the street, lowering the legalised prices 
of ale, bread, meat, candles, and other articles, buying from 
unfreemen, forestalling or purchasing goods wholesale before 
they were exhibited publicly at the market-cross, and the 
admission of burgesses, being all considered fair subjects of fine. 
October 15, 1459, four persons on being admitted burgesses were 
bound to make a yard of causeway each ; and on 2ist of April 
following, two new burgesses were obliged to make a rood of 
causeway each, or pay ten shillings. The burgh being in want 
of a ' knok ' or town-clock, proceeded to impose fines for the 

1462, Oct. 26. Whoever brak the prys of brede or ale, sail be fined 
twelve pence to ye buying of a knok. Item, That ilka man has his 
dike made by Martimas under pane of twa shillings taken to ye knok. 
Item, That straikens [coarse linen] that gang to ye market be rowand 
round and not square ; also, whosoever there be that fechts or tulzies to 
the distrowbelling of ye town sail pay twa shillings to ye knok buying; 
also, that whoever buys skins, wool, hides, or quhite claith fra unka men 
of the pak, sail be fined sixpence to ye knok. B. R. 

1464, March 26. It is statut and ordained that nane pass out of ye 
yetts of ye town to buy hides, skins, fut-fell or lamb-skins, nor yet other 
goods under a fine of eight shillings. B. R. 

June 10. Thomas Henderson, ye miller, made burgess, sail pay for 
his freedom threttie shillings, to the making of ye butts. B. R. 

Placed between two waters, Peebles has been somewhat 


celebrated for its bridges one of large dimensions across 
the Tweed, also several across the Eddleston Water, one 
of which has communicated a name to the Briggate. The 
date of Tweed bridge, consisting of five stone arches, has 
hitherto baffled investigation. The name ' Rauf del Fount,' 
which occurs in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, might suggest 
that this lofty edifice was erected previous to that period ; 
for we cannot imagine that Rauf's post was at any of the 
minor Eddleston Water thoroughfares. Independently of the 
fact, that few stone bridges of a date earlier than the four- 
teenth century are found in Scotland, we have ascertained 
with tolerable certainty, from the Burgh Records, that the 
existing stone bridge across the Tweed at Peebles was not 
constructed earlier than the latter part of the fifteenth century. 
According to local tradition, the bridge is said to have been 
built at the cost of two ladies of Neidpath, but who these were 
is not reported. The work is evidently too vast for private 
benevolence, and we must consider it to have been a public 
undertaking, to which the inhabitants of the town materially 
contributed in money, labour, and materials. As the bridge is 
dressed with sandstone, which, along with the lime for the whole 
structure, must have been brought by an imperfect means of 
conveyance from a distance of sixteen to eighteen miles, the 
costliness and the time required to complete the building can 
easily be understood. As a work of importance to the whole 
upper section of the Tweed, no pains have evidently been 
spared to construct it according to those strict rules of art for 
which the masons of past times gained their peculiar distinction. 


Fig. 19. Mason-marks on Tweed Bridge. 

On examining the squared blocks of sandstone composing the 
piers, they are seen to be indented with the species of marks 
which, from time immemorial, have been in use by members 
of the masonic fraternity, for the purpose of respectively 


identifying their work. Though several centuries old, the 
mason-marks are so sharp and well defined as to be readily 
recognisable. They are usually about three inches in length, 
and their character will be understood from the few specimens 
in the preceding cut 

In modern times (1834), the bridge has been widened and 
extended, but the ancient portion remains to attest the original 
dimensions and durable character of the structure. Previous to 
the alterations, the bridge was provided with recesses over the 
piers, where foot-passengers could take refuge to avoid collision 
with cattle or carriages. Over one of the middle piers the 
second from the town there were indications of the site of 
a keeper's dwelling, to which had been attached a toll-house 
and gate. Here may have been the residence of Rauf del Fount's 
successors in office a situation more picturesque than con- 
venient, but the inhabitants could have had little to fear from 
the attack of southern invaders, for their outpost was within hail 
of the castle of Peebles and its vigilant men-at-arms. 

The first notice we have of the bridge being in hand, is that 
of the appointment of seven individuals, styled ' Bryg-masters/ 
who are authorised to exact a certain amount of labour from 
each householder. 

1465, Feb. 2. This day were chosen Bryg-masters, Master Thomas 
of Cockburn, S. Richard Purdy, William Smayll, John Mador, Die. Cant, 
James Gibson, and Wyll of Balcaskie. The same day, ye nychbours 
consented that what tyme the bryg masters chargit them to cum to work 
to ye bryg, they sail cum, under the payn of a man's day's work, and 
that is sixpence [a halfpenny sterling]. B. R. 

1467, Jan. 1 8. The inquest fand that the land lyand upon ye coignie 
neist ye south half of S. John Hotson's land, aued yeirly to ye Rood 
licht a pund of walx. B. R. 

May 9. The haill toun consentit that what tyme that ane be warnit 
to cum to work at ye bryg, and cums not, sail pay for that day four- 
pence, and this not to be forgiven. B. R. 

1468, Jan. 1 6. It is ordained that what nychbour resets players at 
ye dice, either hazart or rafell, in his hous, either be nicht or day, there 
sail be tane off ye man that ye hous belangs to, five shillings withouten 
favour, to ye bryg wark. B. R. 



1468, Oct. 3. The bailies ordain that what sum falls in an unlaw sail 
be givin to ye bryg, and this sail be withouten favour. Item, It is 
ordained for the keepin of the toun fra the pestilans, that the four ports 
of ye toun sail be closit, and kept daily by a man for ilk yett, under 
payn of eight shillings to him yt fails, and the eight shillings to be 
given to ye bryg. Item, It is ordained that na man sail gang to Edin- 
burgh, under the payn of banishment of the toun for a yeir, but by the 
leave of these six men, William of Peebles, John Mador, Patrik of 
Temple, Wyl. Smayll, John Blaklok, and Thomas Morthosen. Item, It 
is ordained that na man sail harbour nor receive no man but with the 
leave of the quartermasters ; and that quarter where the pest cums, the 
quartermasters to be advysed and counsellet with the flesh prysers. B. R. 

1469, May 20. The quhilk day, Simon Patenson made burgess, and 
sail make for his freedom the dyke of ye Venlaw down to ye east neuk. 
[On other new-made burgesses similar obligations are laid ; one is to 
pay ten shillings, the value of six of which to be taken in trees to the 
' yetts of ye Venlaw.'] B. K. 

1470, Oct. 15. The inquest statut and ordain that na swine sail be 
allowed to run about to na man's skaith, under payn of being slauchterit 
wherever they be overtaken. B. R. 

The inquest here and elsewhere referred to, appears to have 
been an institution separate from that of the magistracy. In the 
records it is often called the 'doussan,' or 'doussain/ and consisted 
of from nineteen to twenty-seven persons, elected annually at 
Michaelmas. Immediately after their election, they proceeded 
to appoint ' ale tasters,' and, ' flesh prysers,' for the year, and to 
pass regulations respecting trade in the burgh. For a number of 
years about this period, ' George of Elphynston ' heads the list 
of the ' doussan.' 

1471, Michaelmas. The inquest statuts that wheat be sold at ten 
shillings, malt at nine and eight shillings and thereby. The ale to be 
sold at tenpence ye gallon ye best, and eightpence ye cheapest, if it be 
priced be ye ale tasters, and he yt keeps not price sail pay eight shillings. 
Item, Wheat, malt, and meal that cums to ye mercat on Saturday, sail 
bycle twal hours, under payn of eight shillings. Item, Nayther fysh, flesh, 
butter, cheese, salt, nor uther guids that cums to mercat, sail be sold 
only at y e cors ; and na man to tak upon hand to house sic like guids 
in prejudice and skaithing of yc burgh, under payn of eight shillings ; 
and na man nor woman to take upon hand to reset guids till ye toun be 
served, under ye payn of eight shillings, and ye guids escheat. Item, 


That na middens lie upon ye gait langer than eight days, under payn of 
eight shillings. Item, That ilk man keip neighbourhood in garden, 
principally fore front and headyard, under payn of eight shillings. [This 
probably meant that nothing offensive should accumulate in gardens.] 
Item, It is statuted that what woman flytes, fechts, sclanders ony guid 
man's wives or dochters within ye burgh, they sail be led to ye four yetts 
of ye toun by ye sergeants, having hanging on thair shoulder twa stanes 
in ane iron chain or in ane widdy. B. R. 

One of the ancient ranges of common belonging to Peebles 
was Caidmuir, a hill about a mile distant on the south-west. On 
the 1 5th of June 1472, as appears by the records, the inhabitants 
decided on assigning the right of common in soums or shares to 
burgesses and widows of burgesses, each to have a proportionate 
amount of grazing for cows an arrangement which, under modi- 
fications, subsisted until the disposal of Caidmuir in recent 

Registers of sasines of small properties in the burgh, resigned 
towards the support of altars and chapels, are of common 
occurrence in the records. The following is one of the more 
interesting notices of this kind : 

1473, Feb. 12. William of Peblis, burgess of that ilk, with earth and 
stane has resigned, from him and his heirs for ever, his fore land, under 
and aboou, with half ane on ye south syde, lyand on ye Cunzie neist 
ye nor gait, and between ye lave of ye said William his land on ye south 
syde, for his saul, his wyfis saul, his bairnis sauls, and principally for all 
ye sauls yt ye said William has had ony guds wrangeously of ony means 
be buying or selling, or ony interchanging, and for all Christian sauls, 
[such earth and stone being now placed] in John Dickyson's hand, bailie 
in ye said burgh, and thair incontinentlie ye said bailie laid that earth 
and stane in ye hands of Maister Gilbert Rerik, procurator consrut and 
maid for Sanct Leonard his Hospital, and in ye name of puir folk, for 
thair supply and help, that is ordained to be in ye said hospital. B. R. 

1475, Nov. 13. Was maid burgess Walter Fylder, and he sail give to 
ye supply of ye bryg wark ye winning of eight lade of stanes. [Several 
others who are made burgesses shortly afterwards, pledge themselves to 
supply loads of stones for the bridge.] B. R. 

1476, Feb. 3. Compeared George of Elphynston at ye tolbooth of 
ye burgh, and stated to ye haill court, that Sanct James his altar in 
ye hie kirk had na means to uphald a chaplain. [It is ordered that the 


mails or rents of a common on Dalitho shall, for the welfare of the 
burgh, be appropriated for ever to the support of a chaplain to serve at 
the altar mentioned.] B. R. 

1478, May 1 8. John Richardson and Marion his spouse resigned 
eight shillings of annual rent to S. Andrew Younger, chaplain, and his 
successors singing at our lady's altar in ye parish kirk of Stobo, for 
ye saul of S. Andrew Bower and all Christian sauls. B. R. 

1480, July 23. George of Elphynston, Herbert of Tweedie, and 
Patrick Dickyson, bailies, with consent of ye hail communitie, passit to 
ye mercat cors, and gave heritable sasine and possession of thirteen 
shillings and fourpence of annual to S. William Thomson, chaplain, and 
his successors that sail sing mass and mak service at ye rood altar in 
Sanct Andrew his kirk of Peblis, in ye rood loft, to be paid at ye twa 
terms of Whitsunday and Martinmas ; for whilk annual ye bailies and 
communitie bind thair common gud fra thair mills and multures, to pray 
for ye sauls of ye said William Thomson, his father his saul, his motheris 
saul, and for ye prosperitie and weelfare of ye said burgh. B. R. 

1480, May 20. Was maid burgess William Bell, and his freedom 
given for ye bigging of ye butts between ye waters in ye common haugh, 
being ye first butts yt ever was maid in yt place. B. R. 

1486, April 3. Was maid burgess Allan Ewart, and he sail lay a 
hundred lade of stanes to ye upholding of Tweed brig. B. R, 

The circumstance of any one undertaking to furnish a hundred 
loads of stones in requital for being constituted a burgess of 
Peebles, shews the value which was at one time attached to this 
species of dignity. The position of burgess or freeman, however, 
was not merely honorary. It conferred several important 
privileges, such as liberty to buy and sell on the principles of a 
strict corporation monopoly, the right to pasture horses and 
cows on the town's common lands, also the right to dig for fuel 
in several peat-mosses belonging to the community. As installa- 
tion in this enviable position was coveted and well paid for, so 
was deprivation of freedom a matter of serious concern, for it 
amounted to civic ruin, if not absolute exile and irreparable 
contumely. On being made burgess, there was given a ticket or 
diploma of membership, which, as we learn from sundry notices, 
was taken away and publicly torn on the loss of freedom a 
ceremony analogous to that of trailing in the dust the pennon of 
a knight who had the misfortune to suffer degradation by 


command of the sovereign. From the entry in the town-books 
respecting the membership of Allan Ewart, it is seen that 
Tweed bridge was not completed after a lapse of twenty years, 
and we are unable to say when this great work was finished ; 
for the Burgh Records break off in 1486, and suffer a blank 
until 1650, all the volumes applicable to the long interval being 
unfortunately lost. 

According to the accounts of historians, James III., who is 
known to have visited Peebles, indiscreetly shunned the society 
of his nobles, and associated with men noted for their skill in 
architecture, music, and other elegant arts, but devoid of that 
high birth which should alone have recommended them to the 
notice of royalty. As the barons of that age were by no means 
remarkable for refinement, the charge against James, who paid 
for his indiscretion by his life, may perhaps admit of some quali- 
fication. Be this as it may, one of the artists, for whom the 
unfortunate king entertained a particular friendship, was Dr 
William Rogers, who has been described as an eminent musician, 
possessing a celebrity beyond the bounds of Scotland. Pleased 
with Dr Rogers's services, and heedless of offending a crowd 
of expectant barons, the king conferred upon him all and whole 
the lands of Traquair, which had lately fallen to the crown 
by the forfeiture of Robert Lord Boyd. 1 The gift forms the 
subject of a charter under the Great Seal, dated November 29, 
1469, wherein it is stated that the lands were given to Rogers 
and his heirs for his faithful and commendable services. In the 
instrument of sasine which follows, the king describes Rogers as 
scutifero mio familiari literally, ' my domestic shield-bearer,' 
but by a free interpretation, my friend or attendant. 

Dr Rogers was proprietor of the lands of Traquair for upwards 
of nine years, and then he disposed of them in a way as remark- 
able as that by which he had obtained possession. On the iQth 
of September 1478, he executed a notarial instrument of sale of 
the lands and barony of Traquair, in favour of James Stewart, 

1 Traquair Papers. 


Earl of Buchan, uncle to the king, and Warden of the Middle 
Marches. The entire estate was disposed of at the price of 70 
merks Scots (3, i$s. lod. sterling), and for ease of settlement, 
'40 merks are to be paid at Martinmas, next ensuing, and 30 
merks eight days before Christmas, 1479.'* Neither the gift of 
the lands of Traquair to Rogers, nor his disposal of them in the 
manner just described, has ever before been adverted to. The 
usual account leaves out Rogers altogether, and makes it appear 
that the estate was directly gifted by James III. to his uncle, on 
the fall of the Boyds. 

What were the circumstances which moved the accomplished 
scutifero to dispose of, for a sum less in value than a five-pound 
note, an extensive barony now worth five thousand a year, will 
never be known in this world ; nor is there any chance 'of our 
learning why the noble, and, as it proved, ungrateful purchaser 
was so singularly short of cash that he could not pay down 
the price in ready money, and required more than a year's 
credit for a sum equal to about a guinea and a half. Allowing 
that the king may have induced Dr Rogers, by some fresh act of 
munificence, to sell Traquair on the easy terms now mentioned, 
the bargain was clearly a good one for the Earl of Buchan, and 
answered a particular purpose, which consisted in his bestowing 
the lands on his natural son, James Stewart, with whose descend- 
ants raised to the peerage as Lords Stewart of Traquair, 1628 
the estate has remained till our own times. The fate of Dr 
Rogers, who so obligingly relinquished Traquair, belongs to 
general history, and is well known. In 1482, while James III. was 
on an expedition southwards with a large army to check the 
advance of an English force, a band of nobles, among whom was 
the Earl of Buchan, conspired to seize and put to death the 
king's favourite attendants. First, they secured Thomas Coch- 
rane, an architect, lately created Earl of Mar, and afterwards Dr 
Rogers, with William Hommil, and several others, and without 
legal form hurriedly hanged the whole on the bridge of Lauder 

1 Traquair Papers. 


one of the most savage and least excusable acts in an age which 
knew little of either justice or mercy. 

It is to the reign of James III. that may most properly be 
assigned the authorship of that literary curiosity, The Tales of 
the Thrie Pricstis of Peebles, a tract in verse, which has been 
reprinted from an old and scarce edition by Pinkerton. 1 By some, 
the date of the Tales has been imputed to the reign of James V., 
but, as noticed by Pinkerton, the work more probably belongs 
to a period anterior to 1491, for it bears an allusion to one of the 
kingdoms of Spain being still heathen ; and such was the case 
until the conquest of Granada by Ferdinand and Isabella in the 
above year. Of its author, nothing is known. The tales are 
of a jocose and moral character, touching on the vices of the 
age, and more particularly those failings of the clergy which fifty 
years later provoked the acute satire of Sir David Lindsay. The 
poem if we may so call it opens with an account of a tavern 
scene in Peebles, where three priests went to enjoy themselves 
over roast capons and other agreeable messes, along with a 
reasonable allowance of ale, to say nothing of much laughter and 
pleasant conversation, as befitted jolly friars enjoying a holiday. 
A short specimen of this now little-known production may 
perhaps be acceptable. It begins as follows : 

In Peblis town sum tyrae, as I heard tell, 

The formest day of Februare, befell 

Thrie priests went unto collatioun, 

Into ane privie place of the said toun ; 

Quhair that thay sat, richt soft and unfute sair ;'- 

Thay luifit 3 not na rangald 4 nor repair : 5 

And, gif I sail the suith reckin and say, 

I traist it was upon Sanct Bryd's day ; 

Quhair that thay sat, full easily and soft ; 

With monie lowd lauchter upon loft. 

And, wit ye weil, thir thrie thay maid gude cheir ; 

To them thair was na dainteis than too deir : 

1 Scottish Poems reprinted from Scarce Editions. Collected by John Pinkerton. 
London, 1792 ; 3 vols. 12 mo. 
* Not footsore. 3 Loved. 4 Wrangling. fi Crowd. 


With thrie fed capons on a speit with creische, 1 
With monie uthir sindrie dyvers meis. 2 
And them to serve thay had nocht hot a boy ; 
Fra cumpanie thay keipit them sa coy, 
Thay lufit nocht with ladry, 3 nor with lown, 4 
Nor with trumpours 5 to travel throw the town ; 
Both with themself quhat thay wald tel or crak ; 
Umquhyle 6 sadlie ; umquhyle jangle 7 and jak ; 8 
Thus sat thir thrie besyde ane felloun 9 fyre, 
Quhil thair capons war roistit lim and lyre. 10 
Befoir them was sone set a Roundel u bricht, 
And with ane clene claith, finelie dicht, 12 
It was ouirset ; and on it breid was laid. 
The eldest than began the grace, and said, 
And blissit the breid with Benedicite, 
With Dominus Amen, sa mot 13 I the. 

Having commenced their collation, and 'drunken about a quarte/ 
one of the priests, Maister John, proposes to his two com- 
panions, Maister Archibald and Maister William, to tell stones : 
the idea is highly relished ; and John accordingly begins a tale 
about a king who calls lords, clergy, and burgesses before him 
to have three questions answered. The first question which gives 
concern to His Majesty is 

Quhy burges bairnis thryvis not to 'the thrid air ; 

or, in plain English, why the wealth of merchants does not reach 
the third heir or generation. A sagacious clerk undertakes to 
explain this remarkable circumstance, and the way he does so 
embodies perhaps the cleverest part of the poem, although his 
account of the matter is nothing new the young begin to live 
as their fathers leave off, instead of commencing humbly and 
working diligently in the manner by which fortune is alone 
reached. Hear Father John on the subject : 

This questioun declair ful weill I can : 

That thay begin not quhair thair fathers began ; 

1 Grease. 2 Messes. 3 Rabble. 4 Worthless person. 6 Vagabonds. 

6 Sometimes. 7 Prattle. 8 Spend time idly. 9 Fierce. 10 Soft and eatable flesh. 
11 A round table. 12 Decked. 13 Word. 


Bot, with ane heily hart, baith cloft and derft, 1 
Thay ay begin quhair that thair fathers left. 
Of this mater largelie to speik mair, 
Quhy that thay thryve not to the thrid air ; 
Becaus thair fathers purelie 2 can begin, 
With hap, 3 and halfpenny, and a lamb's skin ; 
And purelie ran fra toun to toun on feit ; 
And than richt oft wetshod, weirie, and weit 
Quhilk at the last, of mony smals, couth mak, 4 
This bonie pedder 5 ane gude fute pak. 6 
At ilkane 7 fair this chapman ay was fund ; 
Quhil 8 that his pak was wirth fourtie pund. 
To beir his pak, quhen that he feillit force, 9 
He bocht ful sone ane mekil stalwart hors. 
And at last so worthelie up wan, 
He bocht ane cart to carie pot and pan ; 
Baith Flanders coffers, with counters and kist ; 
He wox a grand rich man or onie wist. 
And syne unto the town, to sel and by, 
He held a chop 10 to sel his chaffery." 
Than bocht he wol, 12 and wyselie couth it wey. 13 
And efter that sone saylit he the sey ; u 
Than cum he hame a very potent man, 
And spousit syne a mychtie wyfe richt than. 
He sailit ouer the sey sa oft and oft, 
Quhil at the last ane semelie ship he coft, 15 
And waxe so ful of worldis welth and win, 16 
His hands he wish 17 in ane silver basin. 

The prosperous merchant at length dies, and is succeeded by his 
son, but ' lichtlie cums will lichtlie ga ; ' he takes no trouble with 
his business, wears rings on his fingers, 

And wil not heir, for very shame and sin, 
That ever his father said ane sheip skin ; 

and so, by false shame, extravagance, and carelessness, he comes 
at last to ruin ; affording a good reason 

Quhy burges bairnis thryve not to the thrid air. 

1 Madly and boldly. 2 Poorly. 8 Cover from the cold. 

* Make comfortable by small gatherings, 6 Pedler. 8 A pack carried on foot. 

7 Every. 8 Until. 9 Lost strength. 10 Shop. n Merchandise. 

" Wool u Weiah. Sea. Bought " Delight. " Washed. 


Passing over the second question, which refers to the degener- 
acy of men of might, we come to the third question concerning 
the clergy, who unaccountably are not able to work miraculous 
cures, such as were common in the early ages of the church. The 
explanation that follows is about as clever a sarcasm as any- 
thing said by Lindsay there is no longer any regard to purity 
of living, knowledge, or spiritual graces 

Sic wickedness this world is within, 
That symonie is countit now na sin. 

Of the remainder of the Three Tales, space does not allow us 
to say anything, and we can only regret that the genial literary 
qualities of the poem are lost to popular acceptance on account 
of its antiquated orthography. 

The peaceful reign of James IV. did much to tranquillise and 
improve the border counties. Peebles received a confirmatory 
charter from the king 1 in 1506, and increasing in size, its eccle- 
siastical institutions grew in dignity. About this period, we 
begin to observe that the provost and bailies of the town were 
usually proprietors of lands in the neighbourhood, and they 
continued to be so till comparatively recent times, a circumstance 
which coincides with the practice among the old county gentry 
of having houses in Peebles, where they resided during winter. 
Perhaps the plan of appointing lairds to offices of trust in the 
burgh was of some special value in an age when education had 
made little progress among the trading classes, but it was 
attended with the inconvenience of affording fresh causes of feud 
among rival families. In the Register of the Secret Seal, under 
date February 18, 1508-9, a passport is granted by James IV. to 
one of these high-class bailies in the following terms ' A protec- 
tion and respite to Patrick Gillies of Glenkirk, bailie of Peebles, 
who passes by the king's licence in his pilgrimage to Jerusalem 
and other parts, for him and his wife, bairns, and servants of 
household, and respites them to be unattached for ony manner 
of action, cause, or quarrel, criminal or civil, concerning the 

Sec Appendix. 


king's hieness, or ony other manner of person, for onything 
bygane, unto the day of the said Patrick his voyage taking, and 
aye and until he return and come hame again, and forty days 
thereafter, he being in life.' Considering the reasons which at 
that time caused persons to undertake pilgrimages to Jerusalem, 
as also the language of the passport, it may be supposed that 
the present was a journey for the sake of expiating a homicide, 
which pressed heavily on the bailie's conscience. 

A few years later, we have the record of another act of piety 
characteristic of the period. On the 7th of November 1510, 
Thomas Balcasky, burgess of Peebles, son and heir of the late 
Martin Balcasky, granted a charter of ' the lands of Scottislandis 
with pertinents in the town and territory of Innerleithen,' in 
favour of James Stenhouse, chaplain of the altar of St Martin in 
the parish church of Peebles in honour of Almighty God, the 
Blessed Mother, St Martin, bishop and confessor, and all saints, 
and for the health of the souls of James IV. and Margaret his 
queen, and the souls of Martin Balcasky and Christian Murdison, 
parents of the said Thomas ; also for the soul of the said Thomas, 
and the souls of his brothers and sisters. The charter is given 
with consent of Patrick Stenhouse, perpetual chaplain of the 
chapel of the Blessed Virgin at the west end of the High Street 
of Peebles, superior of the lands of Scottislandis. 1 

Whether in this charter, the souls of James IV. and his queen 
are included as an ordinary act of loyalty or as a special mark of 
respect, does not appear. It is, at least, certain that James was a 
popular monarch, of which there could be no greater proof than 
the large number of his subjects who followed his standard to 
the fatal field of Flodden, 1513. Among these were many of 
different ranks from Peeblesshire, nearly all of whom were slain. 
History and private record preserve to us the names of several 
who fell on this occasion John, second Lord Hay of Yester, 
proprietor of Neidpath ; James Stewart, who had been installed 
in Traquair by his father the Earl of Buchan ; John Murray of 
Blackbarony ; 8 and Alexander Lauder of Blyth. 3 

1 Traquair Papers. '-' 1 )ouglas's Peerage. 3 Skirling Papers. 


The disastrous defeat of the Scottish army at Flodden, by 
leaving the country in a great measure unprotected, gave a shock 
to the whole border district ; and following the general example, 
Peebles looked to the strengthening of its bastel-houses and its 
walls. We may likewise suppose that its castle was put in a 
posture of defence adequate to the means at command and the 
importance of the occasion. Some portions of the fortifications 
reared at this season of panic are still seen in good preservation 
on the eastern and least defensible side of the burgh ; though 
it must be allowed that the walls would have had a slender 
chance of preserving the town had the English thought fit to 
march against it. The adjoining cut (fig. 20) shews a portion of 
the town-wall as it still exists near the east port. 

Fig. 20. Town- wall of Peebles. 

Ensuing on the battle of Flodden, during the minority of 
James V., and when 

The Flowers of the Forest were a' wede away, 

we have accounts of disturbances, thefts, and slaughters, aggra- 
vated beyond precedent. Douglas, Earl of Angus, who married 
the widow of James IV., commanded on the eastern borders, and 
for a time retained the custody of the young king, greatly to the 
popular discontent. After his accession to power, James V., 
with the resolute spirit of a sportsman, hunted down the vermin- 
like freebooters of the border. Of this famous expedition against 
the Scotts, Elliots, Armstrongs, and other habitual disturbers 


of the southern counties, the following account is given by 
Lindsay : 

The king ' maid ane convention at Edinburgh with all the 
lordis and barronis, to consult how he might best stanch the 
thieff and revis [reiving] within his realme, and to caus the 
commounes to lieve in peace and rest, quhilk lang tyme had 
beine perturbed befoir. To this effect, he gave charge to all 
carles, lordis, barronis, frieholders, and gentlemen, to compeir at 
Edinburgh with ane monethis victuall, to pas with the king to 
daunten the theivis of Tividaill and Annerdaill, with all uther 
pairtes of the realme, also the king desired all gentlemen that 
had doggis that war guid, to bring thame with thame to hunt in 
the saidis boundis, quhilk the most pairt of the noblemen of the 
Highlandis did: sic as the carles of Huntlie, Argyle, and Athole, 
who brought thair deir houndis with thame, and hunted with his 
majestic. Thair lordis, with many other lordis and gentlemen, 
to the number of tuelf thousand men, assemblet at Edinburgh, 
and thairfra went with the kingis grace to Meggetland, in the 
quhilk boundis war slaine at that tyme aughteine scoir of deir. 
After this hunting, the king hanged Johne Armstrong, laird of 
Kilnockie.' 1 

In this brief narrative, no notice is taken of the execution of 
Piers Cockburn of Henderland, commemorated in the well-known 
ballad, the Lament of tfie Border Widow? but as that tragical 
incident is mentioned as follows by another historian, there seems 
no proper reason to doubt its occurrence : 

1529. The 27 of July, this yeire, the king causes behead 
Cockburne of Henderland, and Adam Scot, the chief of Limers 
and broken men of the borders. 8 

The general tradition is that Piers was hanged over his own 
gate, and not beheaded, but the mode of execution is of little 

The effect of James's energetic measures was a fresh interval 

1 The Cronicla of Scotland, by Robert Lindsay of Pitscotie, vol. i. p. 341. 

* Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, voL iii. p. 80. 

* Historical Works of Sir Jama Balfour, voL L p. 260. 


of tranquillity, during which the country was allowed to assume 
its formerly prosperous aspect ; but all was undone by the war 
that broke out between James V. and his uncle, Henry VIII. , in 
1 542, and which, at the end of that year, caused the death of the 
unfortunate Scottish monarch. The infant Mary now becomes 
queen, and the outrages committed by English invaders are on a 
stupendous scale. The most disastrous of these forays was that 
conducted by Lord Evers and Sir Brian Latoun, during 1544. A 
chronicler mentions that, on this occasion, there were burned or 
destroyed, within the Scottish border, as many as 192 towns, 
barns, churches, and bastel-houses, that 403 Scots were slain, and 
816 taken prisoners, also that upwards of 1000 cattle and 12,000 
sheep were carried off. Next year, Lord Evers and Latoun again 
crossed the border, on which occasion they were met by Archi- 
bald Douglas, Earl of Angus, who had lately returned from 
exile, and been placed at the head of a large army. Now (1545) 
was fought the celebrated battle of Ancrum Moor. Angus's 
army, as was then the usage in Scotland, was composed chiefly 
of the feudatories of the crown and their retainers, who formed a 
militia ready at call on emergencies. The right to summon the 
lieges to arms lay with the sovereign, who, through the Lords of 
the Privy Council, issued a proclamation or ordinance for the 
purpose. A notice of this fact leads to the commencement of 
our extracts from the Records of the Privy or Secret Council, 
and other authorities. 

1546, May 3. The Lords of Council, for resistance of thevis and 
tratouris that daylie and nichtly mak revis, slauchters, murthers, and 
oppressions upon our Soveraine Ladyis lieges, statute and ordain that 
various noblemen and gentlemen, with their retainers, sail be posted in 
Galloway, Nithsdale, &c. Item, My Lord of Angus sail ly upon Tweed, 
and keep betwix Harystane and Peebles Est and Wast, and with him 
the Ouir Ward of Clydesdale and gentlemen of Tweeddale, and that 
letters be directed to all and sundrie personis to keep the above day. 
P. C. R. 

Until this time Peeblesshire has been pictured as suffering 
from ruthlessly conducted border incursions, against which its 
castles and bastel-houses did not always afford a sufficient 



protection. To these public disasters are now to be added the 
feuds which, during a lengthened period, in defiance of law and 
common humanity, were continually breaking out among the 
gentry of the county. Few appear to have been exempted from 
complicity as actors or abettors in these inveterate quarrels. 
The Stewarts, Horsburghs, and Govans in the east ; the Hays in 
the more central parts of the shire ; the Burnetts, Naesmyths, 
Tweedies, Veitches, Geddeses, Crightons, and Porteouses in the 
west ; and the Hurrays, Hamiltons, and Douglases in the 
north, were all less or more belligerents over whom the govern- 
ment of the day was able to exercise but a feeble control. 
Among all who distinguished themselves by these family 
dissensions, no clan attained to such pre-eminence as the 

Fig. 21. Drummelzier Castle in ruins. 

Tweedies. This ancient sept had for its chief Tweedy of Drum- 
melzier, who through successive generations occupied a particu- 
larly strong feudal stronghold, which crowned a rocky peninsula 
on the south bank of the Tweed. Leaving an account of Drum- 
melzier Castle to be included in our topographical notices, it is 
enough here to say, that, as may still be observed from its 


shattered remains, it was a bulky tower of four stories in height, 
provided from foundation to bartisan with small barred windows, 
each having a convenient shot-hole, whence a hackbut could 
promptly deliver its deadly contents on the approach of a sus- 
picious visitor. Here the chieftain of the clan held his court, 
and in league with the Tweedies of Dreva, Wrae, Stanhope, and 
Frude, and others who owed him allegiance, never scrupled to 
levy war and inflict vengeance on his unfortunate neighbours, 
the Veitches of Dawick and the Geddeses of Rachan, against 
whom the whole race of Tweedy seem to have entertained an 
unquenchable hatred. The Tweedies come first prominently 
into notice as disturbers of the peace in the above 'y ear > I S4^ 
from which time, as will be seen by our extracts, their deeds 
receive frequent attention from the Privy Council. 

June n. The quhilk day my Lord Governour and Lordis of Counsel 
ordain letters to be direct to relax James Tuedy of Drummelzier fra the 
process of the horns, 1 led upon him for non-compliance befor our Sove- 
rane Ladyis justice, to underly the laws for certaine crimes inputit to 
him, unto the third of July nixt and William Tuedy, son of the said 
James, hes promisit to cause his father to answer to the summonds 
raisit by the said Lord agains him befor the Lordis of Sessioun upon 
Mononday the 28 June instant ; and David Hamilton of Preston is 
become caution and suretie that the said James Tuedy sail hold firm all 
things that the said William hes promisit in his name in the premises. 
P. C. R. 

For several years during the minority of Mary, various expedi- 
tions were despatched to the border counties to allay disturb- 
ances and expel bodies of English invaders. There was a 
muster for this purpose at Peebles on the loth of July 1547, the 
host being to pass forward ' for asseiging and recovering the 
house of Langhup,' then in possession of the English ; and in 
connection with this affair we learn that the Earl of Huntly was 
to have the goods forfeited by the Earl of Caithness and other 
Caithness gentry for ' their byding at hame fra this host and 
raid ; ' 2 it thus appearing that the people of the very northern 

1 A process of being denounced rebel by the blast of a horn. 
1 Records of Privy Seal. 


extremity of the kingdom were expected to traverse the whole 
length of it, and appear in arms, when the public affairs required 
their assistance. 

Connected with this muster at Peebles are some entries in the 
Lord Treasurer's Books : 

June 13 [1547]. Movit furth of Edr to Peblis, and left thair ye tyme 
of my Lord Governour and Quenes passing to hunting, quhilk yairefter 
was had to the Langhope, ane Mozan and twa Falcones [artillery], and 
for 1 8 horses, 8/. 14^. 

Item, Feit twa horsis quha departit with pulder and bullattis efter the 
said artalzere, 12$. 

1 2. Item, Letteris of proclamatioun to Renfrew and Irvene, charging 
all manner of men to meet my Lorde Governour in Peblis, to ryde upon 
the thevis, 225. 

It appears from other entries that for this expedition eight 
score of hired soldiers were engaged ; also 80 pioneers, furnished 
with mattocks, shovels, &c. ; likewise, a great number of gadmen 
to drive the artillery ; and all set out at the proper time, 
passing southwards by Selkirk and Jedburgh. This affair, it will 
be observed, was only two months before the battle of Pinkie. 

1550, April 30. Dutho Stewart was this day tried before the Justi- 
ciary Court, accused as art and part in the slaughter of Thomas Forester, 
burgess of Peebles. He was convicted and beheaded. 1 

1559, Dec. 13. There is a respite under the Privy Seal for 19 years 
to ' James Tuedy of Drummelzeour ; James Tuedy of Frude ; Patrick, 
Williame, and Johne, his brotheris ; and Thomas Tuedy, alias Lang 
Thome, for ye cruell slauchter of vmqle William Geddes, son and 
apperand air to Charles Geddes of Cuthilhall.' 

In August 1560, the Roman Catholic forms of worship were 
proscribed by law throughout the kingdom, and the Reformation 
effected. The whole of the ancient ecclesiastical institutions in 
and about Peebles were by this act swept away, and the nume- 
rous body of clergy connected with them dispersed. The 
abruptness of this spiritual revolution here, as elsewhere, affords 
matter for surprise ; nor, indeed, is it very intelligible. Such 
was the intensity of devotional feeling according to old forms, 
that, in 1543, the parish church of St Andrew was constituted a 

1 Pitcairu's Criminal Trials. 


collegiate church by John Lord Hay of Yester and the munici- 
pal corporation of the burgh. It was endowed for a provost, ten 
prebends or officiating priests, and ten choristers. The altars to 
which the priests were respectively attached were : St Mary, the 
Holy Cross, St Michael the Arc-Angel, St Mary Major, St John 
Baptist, St Mary del Geddes, St Andrew, St James, St Lawrence, 
and St Christopher. But to this list of ten, usually given, there 
is to be added an altar dedicated to St Martin. Except that 
some of the old endowments fell to the share of the burgh, 
nothing of the ancient ecclesiastical fabric was left to the town 
but the bare walls of the church of St Andrew, the Cross Church, 
and the chapel of Our Lady. What gives a certain air of bur- 
lesque to the event is that, long after the Reformation, law-deeds 
are solemnly executed, transferring endowments for services at 
altars, just as if no change in the religious system had taken 
place ; while those who are to perform these sacred offices affect 
to call themselves chaplains. Thus, Thomas Pringle of Milkiston, 
who had become possessed of the chaplaincy of St Martin in the 
church of St Andrew, assigns it in 1576, with all its privileges, to 
his son David, who henceforth draws the emoluments of the 
office. This chaplaincy is finally lost sight of in the property of 
the Taits of Pirn. 1 

Immediately after the Reformation, when the teinds and 
other revenues of the church were appropriated by the crown, 
nobility, gentry, and burghs, the Protestant clergy were so ill 
provided with the means of maintenance, that the ecclesiastical 
polity was reduced to an exceedingly meagre footing. In this 
emergency, the parochial establishment was sustained by a 
system of ministers, exhorters, and readers, according to circum- 
stances. Some parishes had a minister, who, besides preaching, 
administered the sacraments ; in other cases, the parishes had 
exhorters, only qualified to preach ; and in a third class of cases, 
there were persons who only read the Scriptures. This last 
inferior order of functionaries is perpetuated in what are now 
termed precentors. There exists in the General Register House 

1 Traquair Papers. 


at Edinburgh a record of the ' Names of Ministers, Exhorters, 
and Reidars, with their Stipends,' in 1567, which has been 
printed by the Maitland Club. From this document, we copy 
the following list connected with Tweeddale, and from it will 
be obtained an exact view of the ecclesiastical condition of the 
county shortly after the Reformation. 

PEBLIS, . . John Dikesoun, exhorter, 40 merkis. 

. . Maister Thomas Cranstoun, minister, and to minister 

the sacr amends to the haill schyre, 200 merkis, 

Beltyn 1571. 

LYNTOUN, . . Adam Colquhoun, exhorter, 261. 13*. 4//. 
NEWLANDIS, . Thomas Patersoun, reidar, 2o/. 13*. 4^. ; translatit 

to Kirkurd, Beltyn 1570. 

LYNE, . . Patrick Gryntoun, reidar, i3/. 6s. 8</. 
MENNAR, . Thomas Purves, reidar, 147. 6s. %d. 
DRUMMELZAR, . Thomas Bisset, exhorter, 261. ly. $d. ; and 20 merkis 
DAWYK, mair sen Beltyn 1571, becaus he servis this uther kirk. 

GLENQUHORN, George Tod, reidar, i2/. ; with the thryd of his 

pensionarie extendand to 4/. 8s. lod. 

STOBO, . . Thomas Neilsoun, exhorter, 26/. 13^. ^d. 
TRAQUAIR, . Mr Alexander Tait, reidar, vicar pensionar, 20 merkis ; 

with his awin thryd extendand to 4/. 8s. iod., with 

glebe and manse. 
KILBOCHO, . William Porteous, reidar, i4/. 6s. &d. ; with the thryd 

of the pensionarie extendand to 6 merkis. 
HOPKAILZO, . John Bullo, reidar, 147. 6s. %d. 

BROUGHTON and ) ,, T , . ^ , . , , 

> Walter Tuedye. exhorter, 261. i y. 40. 

ETTILSTOUN, Mr George Hay, minister and persoun, the thryd of 

this personage and Rathven, alsweill past as to cum, 
extending to 68/. i6s. %d. ; i chalder, i boll, &c., 
beir for Rathven ; 4 chalders, 9 bollis, &c., of meill 
for Ettilstoun Providing alwayes he insist dili- 
gentlie in the ministerie, and als caus his kirk, 
quhar he makis not continual residence, to be 
sufficientlie servet, and that he charge the kirk with 
na farther stipend. 

KIRKURDE, . Thomas Patersoun, reidar, 2o/., Beltyn 1570. 

HENDERLETHANE, Patrick Sanderson, exhorter, io/. ; with the thryd of 
the vicarage extending to 22/., Beltyn 1571- 

ST BRYDE'S KIRK, Alexander Tait, exhorter, 2o/., Beltyn 1571. 


The sums mentioned in the above tabular statement being in 
Scots money, it appears that, reckoned in modern currency, the 
ecclesiastical revenue for the entire county in 1567 amounted to 
no more than 44, i$s- $d-, exclusive of a quantity of meal, and 
in one instance a manse and glebe a sorrowful contrast to the 
munificent endowments for spiritual purposes which existed only 
seven years previously. 

Peeblesshire happens to be in a slight degree mixed up 
with the tragical histories of Darnley and Rizzio. Buchanan 
mentions that in order to enjoy uninterruptedly the society of 
Rizzio, Mary sent Darnley to Peebles, December 1565. Darnley, 
he says, ' in a very sharp winter was sent to Pebly, with a 
small retinue, far beneath the dignity of some private persons, 
for a prey rather than recreation. At the same time, there fell 
such a quantity of snow, that the place not being very plentiful, 
and besides being infested with thieves, he that was always bred 
up at court, and used to a liberal diet, was in great hazard of 
wanting necessaries, unless the Bishop of the Orcades had 
casually come hither ; for he, knowing the scarcity of the place, 
brought some wine and other provisions for his use.' 1 

There is ignorance if not misrepresentation in this statement. As 
Peebles at this period was often a centre for military gatherings, 
and was occupied by county gentry as their winter residences, 
it cannot be supposed that Darnley should have experienced any 
serious inconvenience as regards the ordinary comforts of life. 
We may, however, allow Miss Strickland to repel the calumny: 

' Soon after Christmas, Darnley, in sullen mood with his 
consort for withholding what she had no power to confer the 
crown-matrimonial of Scotland withdrew himself from her 
conjugal society, and went into Peeblesshire, with a few of his 
intimate associates, in quest of amusement more to his taste 
than the princely pleasures of Holyrood. Buchanan asserts that 
this was a compulsory absence on the part of Darnley, pretending 
that " he was sent there by the queen with a very small 

1 Buchanan's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 307 ; translation published at Edin- 
burgh, 1752. 


retinue to be out of the way," adding, " that as the snow soon after 
fell in great quantities" a contingency for which Mary seems 
to have been considered answerable " he would have been in 
want of the necessaries of life, if the Bishop of Orkney had not 
brought him some wine and other provisions." Any comment 
on the absurdity of such a tale is rendered needless by the 
evidence of a letter from the Earl of Lennox to his son, proving 
that Darnley, who certainly had a will of his own, had 
announced that it was his pleasure to proceed to Peebles, and 
spend some time there, several days before it was possible, on 
account of the bad weather, to undertake that short journey 
from Edinburgh ; and that the principal object of the expedition 
was a meeting between the father and son, probably unknown to 
the queen, who was not on friendly terms with Lennox just then. 
This letter bears too importantly on the question of the credi- 
bility of the charges brought against Mary Stuart to be omitted ; 
for without even mentioning her name, it exonerates her from 
one of Buchanan's twice-repeated calumnies, and thus, by the 
righteous law of evidence, nullifies every other deposition of a 
witness so malignant and untruthful : 


SIR I have received, by my servant Nisbet, your natural and kind 
letter, for the which I humbly thank your majesty ; and as to the 
contents thereof, I will not trouble you therein, but defer the same till I 
wait upon your majesty at Peebles, which shall be so soon as I may hear 
of the certainty of your going thither. And for that the extremity of the 
stormy weather causes me to doubt of your setting forward so soon on 
your journey, therefore I stay till I hear farther from your majesty, which 
I shall humbly beseech you I may, and I shall not fail to wait upon you 
accordingly. Thus committing your majesty to the government and 
blessing of Almighty God, who preserve you in health, long life, and 
happy reign. 

From Glasgow, this 26th day of December. 

Your Majesty's Humble Subject and Father, 


I shall desire your majesty to pardon me in that this letter is not 


written with mine own hand ; for truly, at the writing hereof, a pain 
which I have in my shoulder and arm is the cause thereof. 
Endorsed "To THE KING'S MAJESTY.'" 

As regards David Rizzio, the conspiracy to murder this 
favourite attendant of the queen included certain lairds in 
Peeblesshire. Under date March 19, 1565, the Privy Council 
Record contains a long list of persons charged with being 
concerned in the slaughter, a few days previously (March 9), 
and in this roll of alleged assassins are seen the following 
names : ' William Twedy of Drummelzier, Adam Twedy of 
Dreva, Hector Douglas of Spitalhaugh, James Douglas there, 
and James Widderspuine of Brighouse.' 

It does not surprise us to find two of the Tweedies in 
the proscribed list, nor that through the lamentable weak- 
ness of the government, they and their confederates escaped 
the punishment due for this and innumerable other crimes. 
The Privy Council, as will be observed throughout, had a 
favourite method of dealing with the offences of the land- 
proprietors, who were let off on giving security for future 
good-behaviour a degree of lenity which seems to have had no 
other effect than to afford opportunities for committing fresh acts 
of outrage. About the time of Rizzio's murder, Adam Tweedie of 
Dreva perpetrated a crime scarcely less atrocious than actual 
homicide. Having, for some reason or other, taken cause of 
offence against a person named Robert Rammage, he forthwith 
assaulted him, and brutally cut off his ears. Rammage and his 
brother not being disposed to put up with this indignity, brought 
the case under the cognizance of the authorities, and Tweedie was 
placed at the bar of the Court of Justiciary on the 26th of 
January I565-66. 1 The charge against him in the dittay was 
' the cutting off Robert Rammage's luggs, and dismembering him 
thairof.' The crime was not denied, but the panel pleaded ' the 
king and queen's remission, Nov. 30, 1565,' and he was accord- 
ingly absolved ; his kinsman, William Tweedie of Drummelzier, 

1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. p. 475. 


engaging to satisfy the Rammages, who, in all probability, never 
received any sort of redress. 

In August 1566, during a temporary reconcilement of Mary 
and Darnley, they visited Peeblesshire. ' On the I4th, the 
queen and her husband set out for Meggetland, to enjoy the 
diversion of hunting, which was not now what it had been in the 
happier days of James V. They were attended by the Earls of 
Huntly, Moray, and other nobles. On the i6th of August, 
they held a council at Rodonna, where they made an ordinance ; 
noticing the scarcity of deer, and ordaining that they should not 
be shot, under the pains of law. Being thus disappointed, they 
determined to return ; they were at Traquair on the igth, and 
came to Edinburgh on the 2Oth.' 1 

1567, Oct. IO. 'There was ane proclamation to meet the 
Regent [Moray] at Peebles on the 8 of November next, for the 
repressing of the thieves in Annandale and Eskdale ; but my 
Lord Regent thinking they will get advertisement, he prevented 
the day, and came over the water secretly, and lodged in Dal- 
keith ; this upon the 19 day [October] ; and upon the morrow 
he departed towards Hawick. ' * 

Our next extract illustrates the narrow commercial policy of 
the period, but likewise shews that our ancestors in Peebles in 
the sixteenth century did not deny themselves the use of wine. 

1571-72, Jan. 26. James Hoppringle, burges of Peebles, having 
obtenit licence to carry furth of Leith to Peebles twa tun of wine, John 
Murdo, tailzour, became caution and souretie that the same sail not be 
sent to Edinburgh under pane of payment of the same. P. C. R. 

From the following, we learn that in the course of their 
operations, the Tweedies did not disdain to act the part of free- 
booters when occasion offered. 

1572, Sept. 13. To the Council, met at Stirling, Duncan Weir, in 
Staneburne, complains that William Twedy, on pretence of a gift of the 
escheat of the said Duncan, through his alleged conviction for producing 
false letters of poynding before the Lords of Council against the said 

1 Life of Mary Queen of Scots, by George Chalmers, vol. i. p. 281. 
8 Barrel's Diary. 


William the latter, with Roger his brother, two of his sons, John 
Grahame of Slipperfield, James Watson, and other eight persons, did, 
on the first of June last, take from the house of Staneburne twa pair of 
sheets, three shirts, collars, curches, and two Jedburgh stams ; ! and from 
the lands of Staneburne, seven cows and mare ; and also that the said 
William and John Twedy, tutour of Drummelzear, with others, at the 
instigation of William Twedy, on the twenty-sixth of August last, tooke 
from the said Duncan, out of Wester Kirkurdyard, twelve head of nolt, 
with a mare all which notwithstanding a reference by the Regent and 
Council to the Lords of Session, and a declaration by Duncan of his 
innocence of the crime of false production, were still, to his almost utter 
ruin, withheld from him by the said parties. William Twedy alleged 
that he had obtained the said gift of escheat, and had therefore done no 
wrong to the said Duncan. The Regent and Council referred the matter 
to the Lords of Session, ' to do justice thairin conforme to the lawes of 
this realme.' P. C. R. 

The disorderliness of the county gentry in these unsettled 
times may be said to have been imitated on a minor but not less 
rancorous scale by the burgesses of Peebles, who, among them- 
selves, scolded, quarrelled, and fought, used towards each other 
opprobrious epithets in open council, constantly disagreed about 
rights to common property, and, at times, out of malice or an 
inclination for plunder, committed crimes which brought them 
within the scrutiny of the higher courts. 

On the ist of July 1572, there occurred a mysterious and 
horrid murder in Peebles, the cause of which has never been 
cleared up. It was the assassination of John Dickison of Wink- 
ston, provost of the burgh, the attack upon him, according to 
local tradition, being in the eastern part of the High Street. 
Certain persons in the town were accused of the crime, 
and brought to trial before the Court of Justiciary on the iQth 
of July. The following are the names of the accused : James 
Tuedy, John Wightman, Martin Hay, and John Bullo, all of 
Peebles, and Thomas Johnston, son of Thomas Johnston of 
Craigieburn. The prosecutors were the relict, father, and son of 

1 The citizens of Jedburgh were so distinguished for the use of arms, that the battle- 
axe, or species of partisan, which they commonly used, was called a Jeddart-staff, after 
the name of the burgh. Scott's Border Antiquities. 


the deceased, and two of their council were Lord Yester and the 
Laird of Blancrue. We give the names of the jurors on the 
assize, for they were nearly all of Peebles original spelling 
preserved ' Patrik Neutoun, burges of Peblis ; Martyne 
Wilsoun, thair ; John Mosman, thair ; Patrik Weche, thair ; 
John Horsbrugh, merchand, thair ; Thomas Patersoun, thair ; 
John Sydeserff of that Ilk ; Robert Scot in Peblis ; Edward 
Robesoun, thair ; Alexandre Wilsoun, thair ; Andro Cheisholme, 
thair ; George Horsbrugh, thair ; James Cokburne, thair ; Stevin 
Robesoun, thair ; Alexandre Donaldsoun in Leyth.' The jury 
unanimously acquitted all the persons charged. 

James Douglas, Earl of Morton, became regent in 1572, and at 
the same time extended his possessions in Peeblesshire, in the 
midst of which he began to build Drochill Castle, on a scale 
of surpassing magnificence. During his regency, the peace 
of the country was so little improved as to call for an active 
gathering of several sheriffdoms. 

1574, July 16. The Regent and Privy Council ordain letters 
to be directed 'to charge all legis betwixt 16 and 60 yeiris, and 
uthers fencible personis within the boundis of the schirefdomes of 
Lanerk, Peblis, and Selkirk, that thai, weill bodin in feir of weir, with 
four dayis victuallis and provisiones, meit his Grace at Peblis, the 26 day 
of Julii instant, and to accompany his Grace, and attend upoun service, 
under the pane of tynsall of lyfe, landis, andgudis.' P. C. . 

1574, Dec. 6. ' The quhilk day, Thomas Cant of Sanct Gillegrange 1 is 
become suretie for Adam Twedy of Dreva, that he sail compeir person- 
alie befoir my Lord Regentis Grace and Lordis of Secret Counsale the 
last day of Februare nix to cum, and underlie sic order as sail be 
appointit for the weill and quietness of the countrie, and also that he 
by himself, his kin, brether, servandis, and friendis cum of his awin hous, 
and all utheris that he may let, sal na wayis invade or persew Charles 
Geddes of Rachane, and James Geddes his father, brether, kin, and 
friendis, utherwayis than by order of law, under the pane of twa thousand 
pundis.' Adam Twedy binds and obliges himself ' to relieve the said 
Thomas Cant of the premisis. P. C. . 

1 Sanct Gillegrange is the old name of the Grange, near Edinburgh ; being so called 
from having been the grange or farm-establishment belonging to the collegiate church 
of St Giles. 


The above surety by Thomas Cant must either have been 
insufficient or withdrawn, for under date December 7, 1574, 
William Lauder of Haltoun undertakes the same obligation 
concerning Tweedie and his relations. 

1574-75, March n. William Baillie of Lamyington becomes surety 
for the above Charles and James Geddes, that they shall not, except in 
due course of law, give any annoyance to John Twedy, tutor of Drum- 
melzier, Patrick Twedy his uncle, Adam Twedy of Dreva, &c. P. C. R. 

1576, June 24. This day, the Council issued an order to preserve the 
deer in Meggetland, Eskdalemuir, and other parts where the Scottish 
kings ' had wont to have their chief pastyme of hunting.' Officers at 
arms and sheriffs are 'to pass to the mercat croce of Dumfries, Jedburgh, 
Peebles, Selkirk, Hawick, and utheris places neidful, and thair, be open 
proclamation in our Soverane Lordes name and auctoritie, command and 
charge all and sindrie his Hegis, that nane of thame tak on hand to 
schute at the saidis deir with gunns, or to bring in ony maner of English- 
men to hunt quhatsumever part of the severall grounds of Scotland, 
without expres licence of our Soverane Lord, or wardane of the merche, 
had and obtenit to that effect, or yet to hunt thameselves at ony time fra 
Fastrenes Een till Midsumer, under the panis contenet in the actis of 
parliament and treatis of peace.' P. C. R. 

The year 1581 was signalised by the execution of the 
ex-regent Morton, who was condemned as having been actively 
concerned in the murder of Darnley. The abrupt termination 
of his career left Drochill in the unfinished state in which it is 
represented in next page. Its remains, which occupy the brow of 
a rising-ground between the Lyne and the Tarth, parish of New- 
lands, constitute the grandest of the ruined castles in the county. 

With all his avariciousness and cruelty, it by no means 
appears that Morton was worse than many others who escaped 
the vengeance of James VI. He devised his earldom and 
estates to his nephew the Earl of Angus ; and in the case of the 
failure of issue of that nobleman, then to William Douglas of 
Loch Leven ; but disregarding this will, the crown, as dealing with 
a forfeiture, conferred the earldom on John Lord Maxwell, 
grandson of the third Earl of Morton, who thus became fifth 
Earl of Morton. This dignity he held only about four years ; 
for a general act of indemnity being passed in 1585, he had 



to surrender the earldom to the proper heir, Archibald Douglas, 
Earl of Angus, and in recompense was created Earl of Nithsdale. 
If John Lord Maxwell is to be judged by his unruly character, 
these favours from the crown were ill bestowed. He and his natural 

Fig. 22. Drochill Castle in rains. 

brother, Robert Maxwell, were for a time the torment of the 
south of Scotland, and, as will be immediately seen, the 
oppressions of Robert and his followers had to be withstood 
by a levy en masse which had Peebles for its rendezvous. 
Meanwhile, our attention is recalled to the Tweedies. 

1584, Nov. ro. The charge given to John Creichton of Quarter, Mr 
John Twedy in Dreva, John Twedy in Stanhop, Hob. Twedy in Howgait, 
James Twedy of Drummelzeare, James Twedy of Frude, Adam Twedy 
in Dreva, James Twedy younger thair, John Twedy in Henderlethane, 
and Alexander Porteous of Glenkirk, to have comperit personalie before 
the kingis majestic and Lords of Secreit Counsale the foresaids 
persones comperand personalie, being accusit of certaine treasonable 
and capitall crymes, quhairof they allegit thay wer altogidder innocent. 
The Lords assign the second day of December nix to cum to the saids 
persones to underly the law, before the justice or his deputes in the 
Tolbuith of Edinburgh, and to that effect ordane to summond ane 
assize, and in the meantyme the saids are to enter thair persones in ward 


within 24 hours, James Twedy of Drummelzeare, Andrew Twedy in 
Dreva, and Alexander Porteous of Glenkirk, within the burgh of Lin- 
lithgow; and Hob. Twedy in Howgait, and James Twedy of Frude, within 
the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, all upon thair own expenses. P. C. R. 

1584, Nov. 1 6. William Cokburne, burgess of Edinburgh, becomes 
surety for James Twedy of Drummelzeare, and William Sinclair of 
Roslin for Adam Twedy of Dreva, and Alexander Porteous of Glenkirk 
that immediately on their release from prison in Linlithgow, they will 
remove to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh to abide their trial. P. C. R. 

From the next reference to this obscure case, we have a 
glimpse of its true meaning. It was a family feud of the 
Tweedies, as is evident from the decision that Tweedie of 
Frude was in danger of his life from the vindictive assaults of 
Tweedie of Drummelzier and one of his associates. Security is 
exacted for their good-behaviour. 

1584-85, March 22. William Foullartoun of Arde becomes securitie 
for James Twedy of Drummelzeare, and Andro alias David Haswell in 
the kirkland of Drummelzeare, that James Twedy of Fmde, and his 
tennentis and servandis, sail be skaythlis in their bodies, gudes, and geir 
be the saids James Twedy and David Haswell in tyme cuming, uther- 
wayes nor be ordour of law, James Twedy under pane of 1000 merks, 
and Pavid Haswell under the pane of 300 merks half to the king, and 
half to the party grevit ; and David erle of Crawfurde oblist himself to 
relief the said William Foullartoune as above, and James Twedy of 
Drummelzeare to relief the said erle of the premises. P. C. R. 

1585, April 20. Proclamation that for suppressing the oppressions 
and crimes committed on the borders, and especially by Robert Maxwell, 
natural brother of John, Earl of Morton, and others, the whole inhabitants 
of the sheriffdom of Edinburgh, constabularies of Haddington, Berwick, 
Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles, Lanark, Dumfries, Wigton, Ayr, Renfrew, 
Stirling, Linlithgow, stewardries of Kirkcudbright and Annandale, and 
bailleries of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham, from 16 to 60 years of 
age, with 20 days' provision, meet the king or his lieutenant at Peebles 
on 2 May next. P. C. R. 

Three days before this formidable meeting took place, the 
upper part of Clydesdale was disturbed by a fresh outrage, in 
which some Peeblesshire gentry were concerned. On the 3Oth 
of April, John Livingstone of Belstane, in the parish of Carluke, 
complained to the Council of an assault which had been made 
upon him on the 3d of the preceding February by sundry 


persons, whose motive in so assailing him does riot appear. The 
affair is most characteristic indeed, a type of numberless other 
lawless proceedings of the time. John quietly leaves his house 
before sunrise, meaning no harm to any one, and expecting none 
to himself. He walks out, as he says, under God's peace and 
the king's, when suddenly he is beset by about forty people who 
had him at feud, ' all bodin in feir of weir ; ' namely, armed with 
jacks, steel bonnets, spears, lance-staffs, bows, hagbuts, pistolets, 
and other invasive weapons forbidden by the laws. At the head 
of them was William, Master of Yester a denounced rebel on 
account of his slaughter of the Laird of Westerhall's servant 
Alexander Jardine, younger of Applegarth ; his servants, Stephen 
Jardine, and Matthew Moffat in Woodend, James Borthwick of 
Colela, John Lauder of Hartpool, Michael Hunter of Polmood, 
John Hoppringle in Peebles, James Hoppringle of the same 
place, Wiliam Brenarde [Burnett ?] of the Barns, John Cockburn 
of Glen, and Colin Langton of Earlshaugh, were among the 
company, evidently all of them men of some figure and import- 
ance. Having come for the purpose of attacking Livingstone, 
they no sooner saw him than they set upon him, with discharge 
of their firearms, to deprive him of his life. He narrowly escaped, 
and ran back to his 'house, which they immediately environed in 
the most furious manner, firing in at the windows and through 
every other aperture, for a space of three hours. A ' bullon ' 
pierced his hat. As they departed, they met his wife and 
daughter, whom they abused shamefully. In short, it seems 
altogether to have been an affair of the most barbarous and 
violent kind. The offenders were all denounced rebels. 1 

1585, April 30. The following are denounced rebels for not appearing 
to answer for illegal convocation of the lieges : Michael Hunter of 
Polmood, John Hoppringle in Peebles, James Hoppringle there, Mr 
Alexander Vache, William Vache, his son, and John English of Maner- 
heid. P. C. X. 

For several years about this period, the feuds in Peeblesshire 
were aggravated by the outrageous conduct of William, Master 

1 Domes fie Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 156 ; and P. C. K. 


of Yester, son of William, Lord Hay, of Yester, in whom was 
united the offices of sheriff-principal of the county and provost 
of the burgh of Peebles. It was alleged, with some degree of 
reason, that a nobleman who exercised these functions should 
have at least so far shewn respect for the laws as to make his 
son. answerable for his crimes ; instead of which, as was said, he 
placed him in his house and strength of Neidpath, where, though 
a denounced rebel, he kept state with a numerous band of armed 
retainers, and did many illegal acts. Moved as much perhaps by 
a family grudge of old standing as by any great regard for the 
law, Sir John Stewart of Traquair, and his brother, James 
Stewart of Shillinglaw, made a complaint to the Privy Council, 
October 5, 1585, setting forth that, dwelling on lands on the 
south side of the Tweed, they were subject to the incursions of 
the thieves and broken men of the borders, against whom they 
could not effectually protect themselves and their neighbours, in 
consequence of ' being greatly hindered therein ' by William, 
Master of Yester. Besides this, the Master is accused of usurping 
the authority of both sheriff and provost, and taking upon him 
' to proclame and hold wappinshawings at tymes nawayes 
appointit be his Hieness" direction, nor be ony lawis or custome 
of this realme, to banishe and gif up kyndnes to all personis in 
burgh or land quhair he pleases to tak up menis geir under pre- 
tens of release from wappinshawings, the said Maister haveand na 
power or auctoritie as a lauchful magistrat to command them 
and furder it is weill knawn to sindrie of the saids Lords of Secreit 
Counsale that the said Maister socht the life of the said James 
Stewart, and daylie shoris and bostis to slay him and all uthers 
of his kin and freindis quhom he may maister.' The complainers 
desire that Lord Yester and his son may be deprived of this 
unlawfully usurped power, and prevented from troubling James 
Stewart and others. To sustain these complaints, Sir John 
Stewart and his brother ' compeared by James Lawsoun of Carne- 
mure, thair procurator, and William, Maister of Yester, com- 
peared for himself and his father, who he stated to be " visite 
with seikness."' The Council remitted the case to the Lords of 


Session, and in ' the meantyme discharges the said Lord and 
Maister of Yester, thair deputis and officiaris of all calling, 
persewing, unlawing, poinding, troubling, or onwayis proceeding 
agains the saidis Sir John Stewart and James Stewart, thair 
brether, bairns, tennants, servants, and dependaries, unto the 
aucht day of Januar nix to cum.' P. C. R. 

Whatever may have been the general misconduct of the 
Master of Yester, who was nicknamed Wood-sword, the accusa- 
tion of having tolerated and countenanced border thieves is not 
quite consistent with the fact, that he secured the royal indulgence 
by his promptitude in protecting the lieges from their incursions ; 
and if we are to believe Father Hay, it was the Stewarts who 
were in this respect really in fault. ' The borders,' says this 
authority, ' being much infested with broken men and thieving, 
this lord [Master of Yester], who always rode accompanied with 
twenty-four horsemen, and as many footmen, armed, did take 
and hanged a great [number] of them. He was at feud with the 
House of Traquair for seconding the thieves, in pursuit of whom 
he received a wound in the face. King James VI. being 
desirous to have this feud taken away, as all others of the 
country, and he refusing, was committed to the Castle of Edin- 
burgh [June 7, 1587], out of which he made his escape, and 
immediately made one new inroad against the thieves, of whom 
he killed a great many, in a place called from thence the Bloody 
Haugh, near Riskinhope, in Rodonna ; whereupon the king was 
pleased to make a hunting journey, and came to the house of 
Neidpath, whither the king called Traquair, with his two sons, 
who made to Lord Yester acknowledgment for the wrong they 
had done him, and then peace was made by the king. This was 
witnessed by one William Geddes, who was my lord's butler, and 
lived till the year 1632." 

From 1587 till 1591, several incidents illustrative of the condi- 
tion of things in Peeblesshire come under the notice of the Privy 

1 Genealogy of the Hays of Tweeddale, by Father R. A. Hay. 


1588-89, Jan. 23. James Sandilands, tailor burgess of Edinburgh, 
becomes suretie for John Govan, younger of Cardrona, that the said 
John sail mak payment to Sir James Maxwell of Calderwoode, knycht, 
collector of the baronis tax within the sherifFdom of Lanark, of sums of 
money as he sail be fund justlie indebted. P. C. R. 

1589, Sept. 15. Charles Geddes of Rachan becomes suretie for Mr 
Thomas Nasmyth, portioner of Posso, that William Twedy, eldest lawful 
sone to John Twedy, sometyme tutor of Drummelzeare, and the said 
John his lawful guidar, sal be harmles and skaithles in thair bodyes, 
landis, takkis [leases], possessionis, gudes, and geir, under the paine of 
500 pundis, the ane half to the kingis majestic, the other half to the 
pairty greivit. P. C. R. 

1589, Sept. 24. A similar security is given by 'John Tuedy, 
mercheant burges of Edinburgh,' and others, to the effect that ' Mr 
Thomas Nasmyth, fiar of Posso, his tennantis and servands, sal be 
harmles ' from James Tuedy of Drummelzeare, ' under paine of 4000 
merkis.' P. C. R. 

1589. John, Lord Fleming, becomes suretie for John Tuedy, bruther 
germane to James Tuedy of Drummelzeare, that Michael Nasmyth of 
Posso, Mr Thomas Nasmyth, his sonne and appeirand air, and John 
Nasmyth, his bruther, thair wyffis, bairns, and servands, sal be harmless, 
under the paine of 5000 merkis. And also that the said John, being 
releivit furth of his present warde within the tolbuith of Edinburgh, sal 
keip warde thairafter within burgh, until he satisfie the said Maister 
Thomas, for the skaith susteinit be him be the douncasting of his house 
of Stirkfield. P. C. R. 

1589, Oct. 4. Similar caution to the above given by James Hamilton 
of Libbertoun for James Tuedy of Drummelzeare, that Michael Nasmyth 
of Posso, his son, &c., shall be harmless under the penalty of 5000 
merks. P. C. R. 

1590, June 4. William Cokburne, burges of Edinburgh, becomes 
'suretie for John Tuedy of Drummelzeare, that Maister Thomas 
Nasmyth, fiar of Posso, sal be harmless, under the paine of 1000 pundis/ 
P. C. R. 

These were small matters in comparison with an affair which 
took place in the neighbourhood of Peebles, the Tweedies, as usual, 
being the prime movers. On the i6th of June 1590, Patrick 
Veitch of Dawick went on business to Peebles, and while there, 
' was perceived by James Tuedy of Drummelzier ; John Tuedy, 
his brother; Adam Tuedy of Dreva; John Tuedy, tutor of Drum- 
melzier ; Charles Tuedy, the bastard ; William Tuedy of the 


Wrae, John Creichton of Quarter, Andro Creichton in Cardon, 
and Thomas Porteous of Glenkirk,' all of whom entertained a 
deadly hatred of Veitch, and thought that a fair opportunity had 
occurred for taking his life. Procuring knowledge of the time 
he was to set off homeward, the band of homicides divided 
themselves into two companies, one of which preceded him 
unobserved, and concealed itself at a particular place on the 
road behind Neidpath. Veitch quitted the town unsuspicious 
of his danger, followed at a distance by the other party ; and at 
a given signal the whole closed upon the unfortunate man, ' and 
with swordis and pistolettes cruellie and unmercifullie slew him, 
upon set purpose, auld feid, and forethought, without respect 
either to the late proclamation as to keeping good order, 
according to his majestie's godlie and gude intention anent the 
reformation of abuses and disorders, nor yet with having regard 
to the present time of the strangers being with his majestic. In 
respect whereof,' proceeds the complaint to the Privy Council, 
' not only is his majestic touchet in honour, his authentic highly 
contemned, and occasion given to uther wicked personis to do 
the like this odious slauchter being the first that has been 
committit since his majestie's hame-coming, sail not remane 

The accused parties not appearing to answer the charge, they 
were denounced rebels, and by some peculiarly active means 
were shortly afterwards placed in prison in Edinburgh. The 
case was referred to the aire or circuit court at Peebles, but 
meanwhile it became complicated by reprisals. On the 2Oth of 
June, two relations of the slain youth John Veitch, younger of 
North Synton, and Andrew Veitch, brother of the Laird of 
Courhope set upon John Tweedie, tutor of Drummelzier, and 
burgess of Edinburgh, as he walked the streets of the capital, 
and killed him. Thus were the alleged murderers punished 
through a near relative, probably uncle of the principal party. 
For some time, there is a tiresome repetition of entries in the 
Privy Council Records concerning sureties given on both sides 
under heavy penalties ; nothing, of course, being done to punish 


the murderers on either side. Perhaps the excessive laxity of 
justice at this crisis is due to the fact of James VI. having just 
arrived with his newly-married queen from Denmark ; and 
although scandalised by the outrages having taken place while 
distinguished strangers were in the country, the king was 
disposed to let the matter rest, and among other acts of con- 
ciliation, granted an order for liberation of the Veitches. This 
indulgence met with no grateful return ; the feud of the 
Tweedies and Veitches was of too long standing to be relin- 
quished. 1 

While the Tweedies and Veitches, with their respective allies, 
were pursuing schemes of vengeance, a new grievance is heard 
of in the county. This was the murder of John Hamilton of 
Coitquoitt, a place afterwards known as Coldcoat, and now 
named Macbie Hill. At this period, Romanno was in possession 
of the Hurrays, who had obtained the estate by intermarriage 
with an heiress, Janet Romanno of that Ilk. In 1591, there 
were three ladies connected with Romanno, respectively the 
wives of father, son, and grandson. For their accommodation, 
there were two dwellings, the old fortalice, and what was called 
the Templehouse, a name probably derived from certain lands 
which had at one time belonged to the Knights Templars. 
These ladies came to trouble on account of their husbands being 

1 Scott, in his historical introduction to the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, refers 
to the long-existing feuds of the Tweedies and Veitches, which he illustrates with the 
following traditionary anecdote : ' Veitch of Dawyk, a man of great strength and 
bravery, who flourished in the 1 6th century, was upon bad terms with a neighbouring 
proprietor, Tweedie of Drummelziar. By some accident, a flock of Dawyk's sheep 
had strayed over into Drummelziar's grounds, at a time when Dickie of the Dot, a 
Liddisdale outlaw, was making his rounds in Tweeddale. Seeing this flock of sheep, 
he drove them off without ceremony. Next morning, Veitch perceiving his loss, 
summoned his servants and retainers, laid a blood-hound upon the traces of the robber, 
by whom they were guided for many miles, till, on the banks of the Liddel, he staid 
upon a very large haystack. The pursuers were a good deal surprised at the obstinate 
pause of the blood-hound, till Dawyk pulled down some of the hay, and discovered a 
large excavation, containing the robbers and their spoil. He instantly flew upon 
Dickie, and was about to poniard him, when the marauder protested that he would 
never have touched a cloot [hoof] of them, had he not taken them for Drummelziar's 
property. This dexterous appeal to Veitch's passions saved the life of the freebooter.' 
VoL L p. Ixvi. note. 


charged with the slaughter of their neighbour, Hamilton ; and as 
the alleged murderers had absconded, and taken refuge with 
friends and abettors, the ladies were put to some inconvenience. 
So much may be said in explanation of a lengthened entry in 
the Privy Council Record, December 10, 1591, which we shall 
attempt to simplify. 

Helen Henderson, spouse of William Murray, elder, of 
Romanno ; Margaret Tweedie, spouse to John Murray, younger, 
of Romanno; and Agnes Nisbitt, spouse to William Murray, 
youngest of Romanno, complain that being denounced as art and 
part in the slaughter of the late John Hamilton of Coitquoitt, 
his son and relict had misrepresented to the king that the tower 
of Romanno was ' detenit and garneist with men of weir, to the 
contempt of His Majesty,' who had placed it in possession of 
four persons, to whom was to be paid a monthly allowance 
of twenty merks. The three ladies remonstrate against this 
oppressive arrangement, ' of which, gif they had knawen, they 
wad have compeirit, and stayed the granting of the same.' They 
desire the order to be suspended, for the house of Romanno, 
they say, ' was never keipit aganis his Hieness, but only aganis 
rebels, as God knawis tyme will try, and thairfore needit na sic 
keiparis, it being but ane auld ruinous tour, not meit for na man 
to keip or hassard his lyffe into ;' and besides, the said ladies 
are conjunctly infeft in fee and liferent in the haill lands of 
Romanno, ' quhilk is but a puir ten-pund land, in effect barren, 
and subject to the incursionis and stouthis of the broken men 
and thevis of baith the bordouris, and the saids complenaris and 
thair families, have na maner of thing besides whareupon 
to leive ; it can naither stand with the law of God nor man to 
punish the inocent, and to tak fra thame thair landis and 
lyves, although thair husbandis be now deprivit of his Hienes' 
favour ; and gif ony doubt or scruple may be made anent the 
keiping of the said hous, thay are content and presentlie offeris 
(the keiparis being removit furth thairof), with all diligence 
thairefter, to close up, on thair expensis, the yetts and windois 
of the hous with stane and lyme, and to be answerable that 


thair husbandis nor na utheris sail entir thairin without his 
Majestie's licence.' P. C. R. 

This representation failed. Helen Henderson, for herself and 
the other complainers, also Bessie Baillie, widow, and Jonas, 
William, and James, sons of the deceased John Hamilton, being 
present, the king and council ordered the letters raised against 
the ladies of Romanno to be put to execution. The real 
pinch in the case, as will be observed, was the obligation to 
maintain four government officials, at a cost of twenty merks 
(l, 2s. 6d. sterling) monthly; and to get rid of these unwelcome 
visitors, the three ladies may be allowed to have made out a 
painful case of poverty. Ultimately, March 29, 1592, they 
were exempted from further trouble, on giving security that 
the parties denounced as rebels should not find refuge within 
the house of Romanno ; and we can fancy the satisfaction of the 
three sorely-tried ladies on seeing the four officials quit the 
fortalice and disappear down the old avenue. There were some 
subsequent proceedings in connection with this affair, such as the 
entering into securities that there would be no mutual molestation 
apart from forms of law ; but so feeble was justice, and so 
weak the royal authority, that the scandal of Hamilton's murder 
blew over, and the Hurrays resumed their residence at Romanno, 
as if nothing had happened. We can hardly be surprised at this 
immunity to brawling and homicidal lairds, when we remember 
that in the beginning of this year the 'Bonny Earl of Moray' was 
slain at Donibristle, and that the king, notwithstanding urgent 
remonstrances from the earl's mother, refrained from prosecuting 
the murderers. 

At the time that the Murrays of Romanno were in the midst 
of their troubles about the murder of a neighbouring laird, the 
Burnetts of Barns had laid themselves open to complaint on 
account of certain feuds with adjoining proprietors. Barns is an 
extensive estate on the south bank of the Tweed, three miles 
west of Peebles, and its proprietor at this time was William 
Burnett, a man of gigantic stature and strength, who, for his 
sagacity in conducting expeditions in the dark, was generally 


nicknamed the ' Howlet,' or Owl. Living with his family in a 
tall feudal tower, of which, in its now decayed state, covered with 
ivy, and with a grated door, we present a sketch, the Howlet 


Fig. 23. Old Tower of Barns. 

had rendered himself amenable to law. 
before the Privy Council as follows : 

The case is brought 

1591. John Murray of Blackbarony becomes ' suretie for William 
Burnett of Bams, that he sail compeir personalie befoir the kingis 
Majestic and Lords of Secret Counsole at Halyrudhouse, or whair it 
sail happen to be for the time, the 29 day of December instant, and answer 
to sic things as sail be inquirit of him, touching sic deedlie feid as he 
hes interest in ; and that he sail underlie sic order as his Hienes and the 
said Lords sail demene to him thereanent, under the pane of ane 
thousand merks.' P. C. R. 

One of the Peeblesshire lairds is found to have been implicated 
in the treasonous and outrageous conduct of Francis, Earl of 
Bothwell. Frustrated in his audacious attempt to seize the royal 
person at Holyrood House in December 1591, Bothwell, with a 
band of three hundred men, made a renewed but equally 


abortive effort for the same purpose at the palace of Falkland 
in June 1592. Retiring among his vassals in Liddesdale, it 
became necessary to assemble the lieges to quell this extra- 
ordinary disturber of the public peace, and several proclamations 
to that effect were issued by the Privy Council. As usual, in the 
case of border disturbances, Peebles was made a place of meeting, 
and here James VI. presented himself to organise the forces 
raised on the occasion. Seemingly roused for the moment from 
his imbecility, the king, under date July 13, issued an edict to 
destroy three dangerous strongholds that of Tinnies, in Peebles- 
shire, and those of Harden and Dryhope in Selkirkshire. In no 
part of Scotland was there any feudal keep so like a robbers' 
castle on the Rhine as that of Tinnies, which, occupying the 
summit of a lofty knoll, towered over the plain of Drummelzier, 
and was, in all respects, a fitting residence for one who set 
the law at defiance. At this period, it was occupied by James 
Stewart, of whom we know nothing from the records, further 
than he was connected with the designs of Bothwell, and exposed 
himself to the severest penalties. The royal warrant for the 
demolition of Tinnies is too remarkable not to be given 

'At Peebles, i3th July 1592. The Kingis Majestic, with advice of 
the Lordis of his. Secret Councale, Givis and Grantis full power and 
commission, express bidding and charge, be thir presents to his welbe- 
lovitt William Stewart of Traquair, to dimolois, and cause be dimoloist 
and cussen down to the ground, the place and houss of Tynnies, quhilkis 
perteint to James Stewart, sumtyme of Tynnies ; as alsua the like power 
and commission, express bidding and charge to Walter Scott of Gouldie 
Landis, and Mr Jideon Murray, conjunctlie and severallie, to demolois, 
and cause be demoloist and cussen down to the ground, the places, 
housses, and fortalices of Harden and Dryhoip, pertaining to Walter 
Scott of Harden, quha with the said James Stewart was art and part of 
the lait tressonabill fact perpetrat against his hieness awne person at 
Falkland. And that the forsaid persons caus the premisses be putt in 
executioun with all convenient expeditioun, as they will answer to his 
hieness upoun their obedience.' P. C. R. 

Strangely enough, the Tweedies were either not concerned in 


Bothwell's treason, or had the address, by aiding the king in his 
emergency, to escape the visitation which afflicted their near 
neighbour at Tinnies. In 1592, they actually appear in the new 
quality of complainers, instead of being complained against. 
They had suffered losses through the predatory habits of one 
of the clans Scott on the borders, and the circumstance makes 
us aware of the wide sweep of country exposed to such depre- 
dations. In the tone and character of injured innocents, the 
Tweedies state to the Privy Council that the Scotts, though 
bound to keep the peace, came on the I5th of December last to 
the lands of Drummelzier and Dreva, and took from them 
4000 sheep, 200 oxen and cows, and 40 horses and mares, also 
took away all the movable goods in the houses of tenants to 
the value of ^"2000. The Council ordered Sir John Edmonston 
of that Ilk, cautioner for the Scotts, to bring them forward to 
answer these grave charges. 

At the close of 1592, the Tweedies revert to their true charac- 
ter. We learn from an entry in the Record, that they had 
perpetrated quite as deliberate a murder as that committed by 
them less than two years previously near the castle of Neidpath. 
Their victim on this occasion was one of the Geddeses, with 
whom they were at feud, and the scene of the atrocity was at a 
blacksmith's door in the Cowgate of Edinburgh. As usual, the 
case comes before the Council by a complaint. Mary Veitch, 
relict, Charles Geddes of Rachan, brother, with the bairns, 
remaining brother, and friends of the late James Geddes of 
Glenhegdon, state that ' it is not unknawne how mony slauchters 
have been committit upon them by James Tuedy of Drummel- 
zeair and his friends,' notwithstanding bonds, promises, and 
assurances to the contrary ; and now he has committed the bar- 
barous murder of the said James Geddes within the burgh of 
Edinburgh. For ' the space of aucht days ' together, Tweedy and 
his companions publicly haunted the streets and closes waiting 
for an opportunity to slay the Laird of Glenhegdon ; and having, 
by means of spies, watched the said laird near his lodgings, and 
found that on the 29th of December last he was ' in the Cowgait 


at David Lindsay's buith shoeing his horse, being altogether 
careless of his awne suretie, Drummelzier dividit his hail 
friendis and servandis in twa cumpanyis, and directit John 
and Robert Tuedyis, his brether germaine, Patrick Porteous 
of Hawkshaw, John Creichtoun of Quarter, Charles Tuedy, 
household servand to the said James, and Hob Jardin, to 
go to Conis Close, being direct opposite to Lindsayis buith, 
and he himself, accumpanyed with Mr John and James 
Tuedyis, sones to the gudeman of Dreva, past to the Kirk Wynd, 
being a little bewest the said buith, to await, that the said James 
might not escape ; and baith the cumpanyis being convenit at 
the fute of the said cloises, rinding the said James standing at 
David Lindsayis buith dor with his bak to thame, they rucheit 
oute of the said cloises, and shamefullie, cruellie, and unhon- 
nestlie, with schottis of pistollettis murdereit and slew him 
behind his bak.' The parties accused not compearing are 
denounced and escheat. Tweedie was afterwards secured, but 
with the ordinary result. In June 1593, he was a prisoner in 
Edinburgh Castle, and Sir Michael Balfour of Burley became 
security that, on being liberated, he would within 48 hours enter 
himself in ward in Fife, there to remain during His Majesty's 
pleasure. P. C. R. 

1593, Sep. u. Proclamation at Stirling to meet the king at Peebles 
on i November, for pursuit and punishment of rebels. P. C. R. 

1593-94, Feb. 14. The assassination of the Laird of Glenhegdon is 
again before the Privy Council. Charles Geddes of Rachan for himself, 
and as procurator for Margaret Veitch, relict of James Geddes of Glen- 
hegdon, produces a copy of summons at the instance of John Creich- 
toun of Quarter, and Patrick Porteous of Hawkshaw, charging him and 
the said Margaret Veitch to appear on 7 Feb., and shew letters of 
horning they had raised against the said John Creichtoun and Patrick 
Porteous, for not compearing to answer touching the murder of the 
said James Geddes and to hear said letters suspended. Neither 
Crichtoun nor Porteous appearing, the Lords denounce them, and order 
them to be put to the horn ; also, that James Tweedy of Drummelzier, 
cautioner for their appearance, be prosecuted for penalties. P. C. . 

In 1595, there occurred a regular and public combat on Edston 


Haugh, a field on the north bank of the Tweed, about a mile 
from Neidpath. The cause of this passage-of-arms was a sup- 
posedly insulting speech, addressed by John Brown of Hartree 
to George Hepburn, a page of James Lord Yester. Of this 
remarkable duel, for which due authority had been obtained, the 
following account is given in the Domestic Annals of Scotland^ 
quoting from an historical manuscript concerning the Hays of 
Tweeddale. ' The two combatants [Brown and Hepburn] were to 
fight in their doublets, mounted with spears and swords. Some 
of the greatest men of the country took part in the affair, and 
honoured it with their presence. The Laird of Buccleugh 
appeared as judge for Brown ; Hepburn had, on his part, the 
Laird of Cessford. The Lords Yester and Newbottle were 
amongst those officiating. When all was ready, the two com- 
batants rode full tilt against each other with their spears, when 
Brown missed Hepburn, and was thrown from his horse with 
his adversary's weapon through his body. Having grazed his 
thigh in the charge, Hepburn did not immediately follow up his 
advantage, but suffered Brown to lie unharmed on the ground. 
" Fy !" cried one of the judges ; " alight, and take amends of thy 
enemy ! " He then advanced on foot with his sword in his hand 
to Brown, and commanded him to confess the truth. "Stay," 
cried Brown, " till I draw the broken spear out of my body." 
This being done, Brown suddenly drew his sword, and struck at 
Hepburn, who for some time was content to ward off his strokes, 
but at last dealt him a backward wipe across the face, when the 
wretched man, blinded with blood, fell to the ground. The 
judges then interfered to prevent him being further punished by 
Hepburn ; but he resolutely refused to make any confession.' 

1599, Sept. 4. William Horsburgh of Edderston having raised letters 
against the provost and bailies of Peebles on the score of some indem- 
nity, but having failed to appear before the Privy Council to support his 
case, ' James Neving, as procuratour for the saidis provost and bailies, 
protestit in respect' of Horsburgh 's non-appearance, and craved that 
there might be no further proceedings without a new summons. Protest 
admitted./*. C. R. 

1 Vol. L p. 265. 


1599, Sep. 8. In a proclamation to the inhabitants to assist the 
warden of the West March, William, Earl of Angus, those of his 
' wardanrie,' and of Kyle, Carrick, the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, and 
the sheriffdom of Peebles, are ordered to meet at Dumfries on 22 Sep. 
P. C. jR. 

Unsupported by police or standing army, James VI., as is 
evident from royal proclamations, had to depend on the services 
of the gentry and their retainers for maintaining his authority ; 
and nothing conveys so impressive an idea of the abjectness of 
the sovereign at this period, as the circumstance of his inviting 
the Tweedies to assist him with their counsel. 

1600, July 28. Among parties summoned to meet the king and his 
Privy Council at Falkland on 1 1 August, to give ' thair advice anent 
repressing the turbulent borderers,' are James Tweedy of Drummelzier, 
Tweedy of Dreva, and William Veitch of Dawick ; of these, James 
Tweedy is ordered to place himself, with his retainers, in the castle of 
Drummelzier, and William Veitch within the castle of Dawick. 
P. C. J?. 

Notice has been taken of the taxation of the county according 
to the Old Extent. In 1556, a new tax-roll was made up by 
properly appointed commissioners, and this remained long in use. 
From what follows, it will be seen that a dispute occurred 
concerning taxation, which was settled by an appeal to the 
roll of 1556. The case is noticed by Thomson in his Paper on 
the Old Extent, already referred to, and was as follows : 

1602, Jan. 12. Sir John Murray of Eddleston complains that James 
Lord Hay of Yester, principal sheriff of Peeblesshire, had, through his 
depute, Horsburgh of that Ilk, imposed on his lands an undue propor- 
tion of the 100,000 merks for which the county was assessed. Sir John 
proceeds to say that he had been charged ' 48 pundis of money of the 
realme for his pairt of the said taxatioun of his landis of Blakbarrony 
with the annexis thairof, videlicet, Kingisland, and for his pairt of the 
landis of Curhoip, and his landis of Deane and Eister Quhytlaw ' all of 
which he alleges should be taxed to .the extent of only 32 pundis, as 
may appeir be ane roll maid 27 Januar 1556, be certaine commissioneris 
appointit be his Majestie's umquhile dearest mother, quene of the 
realme ; Sir John's taxation having been restricted to that sum on 
account of the barrenness of the lands ' and of evill nichtbouris, being 


subject to the incursionis of Liddisdaill, Ewisdaill, and Annandaill. 
Nevertheless, he, Sir John, had lodged the amount of the whole demand 
with the sheriff-depute, and now prays that the excess be returned to 
him. The Lords decide that the former tax-roll of 1556 is the true one, 
and order the difference between 32 and 48 punds to be returned to Sir 
John Murray. P. C. R. 

It is observed from this appeal, which we have greatly 
abridged, that, as formerly stated, border reivers made incursions 
as far as Eddleston, Courhope, and the summit of the Ringside 
Edge. The next quotation from the Records reveals the not 
less strange fact that, when complained against, the reivers could 
procure letters, or legal authority, to suspend prosecution. 

On the 2d of May 1602, Sir William Stewart of Traquair 
complained that ' James Scott of Quhythop having committit an 
open reiff upoun him,' the said John had by misrepresentation 
procured letters suspending prosecution for the offence. Sir 
William being now ready to go into the case, and the defender 
not appearing, is denounced rebel. We learn by a subsequent 
entry what was the nature of the stouthreif. Scott, taking 
advantage of Sir William Stewart's absence, had gone upon the 
lands of Blackhouse, and ' lifted ' fifty ewes at a single sweep. 
Scott seems to have been a slippery person. On the I7th of 
June, he and others are denounced rebels for not paying to the 
chamberlain part of the dues of Ettrick Forest. 

1602, Oct. 8. The king having gone to Dumfries to endeavour, by 
judicial proceedings, to punish thieves and secure tranquillity in the 
western marches, this day issues a proclamation to the following effect : 
Forasmuch as His Majesty has appointed justice-courts to be held 
within the burghs of Peebles and Jedburgh on the i$th and 26th day of 
October, for trying and punishing the many enormities and insolences 
which have been committed during several years byegone as His 
Majesty, accompanied by a number of his council, intends to be present 
at the said courts, it is necessary ' that His Majestic be weel and substan- 
tiallie accompaniet with a force of his guid subjectis,' therefore ordains 
letters to be direct, charging all and sundry His Majesty's lieges and 
subjects between saxty and sixteen years, and other fencible persons, as 
well dwelling in burgh or on land, regality and royalty, within the 
sheriffdoms of Peebles, Selkirk, and Roxburgh, that they ' ilk ane of 


thame, weel bodin in feir of weir,' meet His Majesty as follows The 
inhabitants of Selkirk and Peebles shires at Peebles, Oct. 15, and the 
inhabitants of Roxburghshire at Jedburgh, Oct. 25 ; and they are to be 
provided to attend on His Majesty for the space of fifteen days, ' under 
paine of tinsel of life, landis, and guids.' On this occasion, the king 
visited Peebles and Jedburgh, and was able to execute justice. 

Tweedie of Drummelzier, who has hitherto been heard of chiefly 
in connection with slaughters and other heinous offences, is now 
to be introduced as a forcible uplifter of the rents of others for his 
own behoof. At this period lived Dame Jean Herris, usually 
called Lady Skirling, relict of Sir John Cockburn of Skirling, 
knight. As widow of the proprietor, she possessed certain lands 
in Haddingtonshire and at Skirling, with legal right to draw 
their rents ; notwithstanding such claims, James Tweedie of 
Drummelzier, who had married the relict of William Cockburn 
of Skirling, set about forcing Lady Skirling's tenants, by ' bang- 
strie and oppressioun, to cause the tennantis to pay thair maillis, 
and thairby frustrates the said complainer of the yeirly maillis 
and dewties, being the best pairt of her rent and living, whare- 
upon she now, in her decrepit and decaying tyme, ought to be 
intertenyit.' Besides these oppressions on her tenants, Lady 
Skirling complains that, ' about the feist of Martymas last,' 
Tweedie came upon the lands of the Nether Mains of Skirling, 
and took away two oxen pertaining to her, and continues heavily 
to oppress her and her tenants, ' she being ane ageit gentil- 
woman, destitute of her husband, and her friendis far dwelling 
from her.' The Lords remit the matter to be pursued before the 
Judge Ordinary, and ordains the Laird of Drummelzier to find 
caution for the indemnity of the complainer and her tenants. 

1603, Feb. 24. Complaint to the Privy Council by Adam Veitch in 
Fethane, who states that on the 5th instant, William and Thomas Scott 
of Hundleshope, with others their accomplices, 'all bodin in feir of 
weir, with hacquebettis and pistoletts, came to the lands of Fethane, and 
thair cuttit and distroyit the said complenaris gangand pleuch, reft and 
tuke away his plew-irons, and schamfullie and unhonesthe dang his 
plewmen, and left them for deid.' The complainer proceeds to mention 
that the outrage had been incited by Scott of Hayning and Scott of 


Thirlstane, who, along with the actual perpetrators not appearing, are 
denounced rebels. P. C. R. 

July 27. At a court of justiciary, Thomas Horsburgh, burgess 
of Peebles, was accused of ' the murder of William Chisholme in Peebles, 
with his own quhinger, under silence and cloud of night, also of the 
theftous stealing of ten sax li peces and tuentie merkis in quhite silver, 
pertening to the said umqle William, under his bed-heid, on the month 
of March last. And likewise of stealing tuentie tua li fra his guid- 
mother.' The assize unanimously, by the mouth of Michael Hunter of 
Polmood, pronounced the panel guilty of the said crimes ' Sentence to 
be tane to the Castell-hill of Edinburghe, and thair to be hangit on ane 
gibitt until he be deid ; and thaireftir his heid and richt hand to be 
strukin fra his body ; and his heid to be set upoun ane pike upoun the 
stepell-heid of Peiblis; and his richt hand to be put on the Eist-port 
thairof ; .and all his movable guidis to be escheit.' \ 

1604, July 4. ' Ane grate fyre in Peibleis town.' Such is the 
very brief notice of an accidental fire in Peebles in 1604, given 
by Birrel in his Diarey of events in Scotland from 1532 till 1605, 
and we are unable, from any local authority, to describe the 
nature or the extent of the conflagration. 

The oldest known tolbooth in Peebles was, as its name 
imports, a booth or building for taking toll at one of the gates. 
This ancient prison is understood to have been situated at the 
foot of the Briggate, in the line of the town-wall, such being 
a principal entry to the town from the north. Falling into decay, 
the old tolbooth is found insufficient, and becomes a proper 
subject of remonstrance by the Privy Council. 

1605, Oct. 25. Hector Cranston, burgess of Peebles, as procurator 
for the provost, bailies, and council, makes appearance and undertakes 
the obligation that, ' within the space of tua yeires, they sail big ane 
sufficient and suir tolbuith and prisone within the toun, able for keiping 
of all sic malefactouris and prisonairis as sail happen to be committit to 
ward within the same, for whom the toun sail be alwyes ansuerable, and 
that thair said tolbuith sail be sufficientlie providit and fumeist with 
irnis and stokes, under the pane of ane thousand pundis.' /*. C. R. 

The building erected in obedience to this order stood in the 
High Street, opposite the spot now occupied by the town-hall. 

1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials. 


1606, Aug. 22. The provost, bailies, and council of Peebles com- 
plain to the Privy Council that John Hay of Smithfield had interrupted 
them in the ' bigging of ane loft and seat within the Croce Kirk of 
Peblis.' The Lords remit the case to the presbytery of Peebles to 
examine and report ; ' and in the meantyme the said complenaris 
and the said John Hay to disist fra bigging of the said dask and loft.' 
The presbytery, having made all proper inquiry, report that the com- 
plainers had proceeded in an orderly manner to make their ' dask and 
seat ;' also that ' the said John Hay has na farther libertie within the 
said kirk nor ony other gentleman of the countrey ; and ordanit the 
said complenaris onlie to give him libertie to set up ane dask and seat 
within the said kirk in the first vacance.' In absence of the defender, 
the report is allowed, and the provost, bailies, and council are permitted 
to proceed with the building of the seat. P. C. 1?. 

1606, Nov. 23. James Tweedy of Drummelzier, and various others, 
are summoned to the Privy Council, on nth December following, to 
give their advice as to the best means of keeping the peace on the 
borders. Two months previously, in a sweeping act of justice, George, 
Earl of Dunbar, had caused upwards of 140 of the boldest border 
outlaws to be hanged. P. C. R. 

1607, Jan. 29. A complaint is before the Privy Council, from which 
it is incidentally learned that, some time previous to September 1601, 
James Govan, proprietor of Cardrona, had, in the course of a local feud, 
been slain by John Scott, brother to Walter Scott of Tushielaw. Of this 
murder, John Scott was still ' unrelaxt.' P. C. R. 

1607, Sept. 3. Tweedy of Drummelzier, who, less than a year ago, 
was thought fit to aid the public authorities in securing peace, is now 
himself the subject of complaint. Thomas Halden of that Ilk, and 
Thomas Porteous of Glenkirk, become bound for James Tweedy of 
Drummelzier, that he, for himself and his friends, shall keep the king's 
peace, keep the country in quietness, and in no way molest Sir David 
Lindsay of Edzell, his son, and friends who are answerable and at horn 
for the slaughter of the deceased Lord of Spynie, under pain of 5000 
merks ; and James Tweedy binds himself to observe the same. A few 
days later, the Lindsays are similarly bound not to molest Tweedy and 
his friends. P. C. R. 

1608, Jan. 7. The Privy Council, finding that an assurance subscribed 
by Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, on the one part, and Mr Archibald 
Douglas, parson of Peebles, on the other part, is now expired and outrun, 
' albeit the variance and controversie betwix thame is not removit or 
tane away,' order new assurance to the same effect be forthwith mutually 
subscribed. On the 2ist of the same month, 'Andro, the son of 


Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, for not keeping the above assurance, 
is ordered to appear before the Council, ' to underlie sic ordour as sail 
be prescryvit unto him.' Andro disobeys, and on the 4th of February is 
denounced rebel. P. C. R. 

From time immemorial, festivities, including horse-racing, had 
taken place at Peebles on Beltane-day, the 1st of May; but such 
was now the unsettled state of the country, that the Privy 
Council felt itself entitled to forbid any assemblage in the 
present year. 

April 28. Forasmeikle as the Lords of Secret Council are informit 
that there is ane horse-race appointit to be held at Peblis the - - day 
of May nextocome, whereunto grit numbers of people, of all qualities 
and ranks, intends to repair, betwix whom there being quarrels, private 
grudges, and miscontentment, it is to be feint that, at their meeting upon 
fields, some troubles and inconvenients sail fall out amangs them, to the 
break of His Majesty's peace, and disquieting of the country, without 
remeed be providit ; therefore the Lords of Secret Council has dischargit, 
and be the tenor hereof discharges, the said horse-race, and ordains that 
the same sail be nawise halden nor keepit this year ; for whilk purpose 
ordains letters to be direct, to command, charge, and inhibit all and 
sundry His Majesty's lieges and subjects, by open proclamation at the 
mercat-cross of Peblis, and other places needful, that nane of them to 
convene and assemble themselves to the said race this present year, but 
to suffer that meeting and action to depart and cease, as they and ilk 
ane of them will answer upon the contrary at their heichest peril. 
P. C. X. 

April 28. Alexander Tait, younger of Pim, complains on account of 
threatened excommunication by the Presbytery of Peebles. He says 
that the Presbytery insists he shall raise the corpse of the late George 
Tait of Innerleithen, ' wha was buried six weeks syne within the kirk of 
Innerleithen, under the paine of excommunication ;' an injunction he 
remonstrates against, as he had no particular part in the burial, but only 
' gave his presence in company with a grite number of barronis, gentel- 
men, and common people ; and further, it is aganis Christiane charitie 
to raise the deid who have been past six weeks in the grave ; and it will 
not be in the complenaris power to get that corps raisit, becaus he is 
but ane mean man of little or no friendship, and the said George has a 
grite number of friendis about the said kirk, quho will not suffer him to 
rais the said corps.' The members of the presbytery not appearing to 
answer the complaint, they are discharged from taking any proceedings 
against the complainer. P. (7. R. 



Another case of binding over to keep the peace by a set of 
Peeblesshire lairds comes up in the Privy Council, May 17. 
Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, his bairns, kin, and friends on 
the one part, and Gledstanes of that Ilk, and Halden of that Ilk, 
their kin and friends, on the other part, being like to fall out 
betwix thame, the Lords ordain the said parties 'to subscryve 
sic forme of assurance as sal be presentit to thame, to endure 
unto the first day of May 1609, and to cause cautionaires 
lykewyse subscryve the said assurance under the pane of .3000 ' 
Scots. P. C. R. 

Fig. 24. Horsbrugh Castle in ruins (1856). 

In a previous chapter, we have noticed the antiquity of 
the Horsburghs, who had adopted a surname from their 
place of residence, a fortalice picturesquely situated on a 
mount in the vale of Tweed, at the distance of about 
two miles and a half east from Peebles. Residing in this 
their castle of Horsbrugh, now the dismally shattered ruin 
represented in the above sketch, they for generations occupied 
the position of sheriff-depute of Peeblesshire, and there- 
fore, both from territorial and official dignity, were reckoned 
among the magnates of the county. Startling as have 
been some of our revelations of past manners, perhaps 


none is more so than those respecting the Horsburghs, who, 
emulating the disorderliness of the Lords Yester, sheriffs-prin- 
cipal, exposed themselves to public complaint in connection with 
feuds, brawls, and slaughters. Already, as has been seen, they 
had to subscribe an assurance to keep the peace, and now one of 
them becomes answerable to a charge of a criminal nature. On 
the /th of July 1608, William Horsburgh, brother to Alexander 
Horsburgh of that Ilk, is accused before the Privy Council of 
having slaughtered James Douglas, son of ' Maister Archibald 
Douglas, archdeacon of Glasgow.' For this heavy offence, he 
had been denounced rebel on the I4th and i6th of May, and 
being still at large, the Lords ordain the captain of His 
Majesty's guard to bring him to justice, and to ' tak his houssis, 
and remove his servandis and familie furth thairof, mak inven- 
tuir of his guidis and geir thairintill, and to reporte the same 
to His Majestie's theasaurer.' P. C. R. 

1608, Nov. 3. Mr Archibald Douglas, parson of Peebles, Mr James 
Douglas, his son, James Elliot, his sister's son, Steven, William, and 
John Robesens in Eschailles, James Horsburgh, thair, Adam and John 
Winterhoipis, thair, James Newton, and Thomas Smyth, complain to the 
Privy Council on the score of excessive caution-money ; but what is the 
offence with which they are charged, is not stated. A prosecution had 
been raised against them, at the instance of the provost, bailies, council, 
and community of Peebles ; and from Douglas, his son, and some others, 
security had been demanded to the extent of ^"1000 Scots, the 
remainder 500 merks. Now, they allege ' these sowmes ar far above the 
sowmes appointit be the act of parliament, and the said Mr Archibald 
Douglas is ane minister having no leving bot stipend for serving of 
the cure at the said kirk, and Mr James Douglas hes not ony leving, but 
sic as his father pleisis to bestow, and the remanent personis are but 
pure laboureirs, not valiant in ane hundredth merkis of frie gier.' Parties 
appearing by their procurators, the Lords find that the penalty imposed 
on Douglas, his son, and nephew should not be modified ; the rest to 
find caution under a penalty of .100 Scots each. P. C. R. 

Dec. 22. James Ker, servitor to the Laird of Fernyhirst, repre- 
sents to the Privy Council that on the i2th of March last, 'he being 
within the burgh of Peblis, thair doing his lauchful aflfairis, James 
Govan, brother to Govan of Cardrona, and William Gibson in Kailzie- 
mylne, with swordis, gantillatis, plait slevis, and other wappenis invasive, 



came and thair upbraidit the said complenair with mony injurious 
speecheis, and them with drawn swordis invadit and perseuit him of his 
lyff, and strak from him the mid finger of his left hand, mutillat him 
thairof and of the haill remanent fingaris of the same hand, and hurte 
and woundit him in divers utheris pairtis of his body, to the effusioun of 
his blood in grite quantitie, and had not faillit to have slane him, were 
not be the providence of God and his awne bettir defence he eschaiped.' 
Defenders not appearing, are denounced rebels. P. C. R. 

Under the same date a large number of tenants of John 
Stewart of Traquair having failed to make appearance to answer 
the charge of non-payment to him of 1000 merks as principal, 
and IOO merks of liquidate expenses possibly on the score of 
rent are denounced rebels by the Privy Council. The case is 
of no public interest. We notice it only for the purpose of 
citing an instance of using a nickname in a legal record. One of 
the defaulters is ' William Rutherfurd, callit Nateis Willie.' 
P. C. R. 

1609, May 25. Mr Archibald Bow, minister at Stobo, sues James 
Tweedy in Stank, denounced rebel for not removing himself ' fra that 
pairt of the said complenaris gleib callit the Willie Croft.' Defender not 
appearing, the captain of the king's guard is ordered to apprehend and 
bring him to justice. P. C. R. 

About this period, and somewhat later, the town of Peebles 
was in trouble as regards education. The old ecclesiastical 
endowments which should have been partly appropriated for this 
purpose being now gone, there was a difficulty in keeping up 
schools. In a thin quarto printed for private circulation, purport- 
ing to be ' Extracts from the common good of various Burghs in 
Scotland, relative to Schools and Schoolmasters between the 
years 1557 and 1634,' we find the following particulars regarding 
the salaries paid to the schoolmasters in Peebles from 1608 to 

1608. Item, To Mr John Young, skuilmaister, for his 

yierly fee and chamber mail [lodging-rent], . . ;i9 Scots. 
Item, Given to the doctor of the skuill, . . . 16 
Item (1628-1634), Given to our scholmaister and doctour 

for their fees, 250 merks. 


Two facts are here worthy of notice. The entire salary of the 
schoolmaster of Peebles, in 1608, amounted to only .109 Scots, 
or g, is. 8d. sterling ; and there was a functionary belonging to 
the school called a ' doctor,' or tutor, one of whose duties was to 
teach singing, for which service he received the munificent annual 
salary of i, is. ^d. sterling. 

1609, May 30. Sir John Murray of Blackbarony for himself and Sir 
Archibald Murray, his son, produces before the Privy Council a summons, 
at the instance of ' Robert Yousting in Mirrielawis,' as father, and rest 
of the kinsmen of the deceast Patrick Yousting, servitor to the said Sir 
John, charging him for detaining the person of William Drysdale, 
servitor of the said Sir Archibald, and so preventing his trial for the 
murder of the said Patrick ; and protested that in the absence of the 
defender nothing should follow on said summons, but that he, Sir John, 
and his friends should be relieved of the said Drysdale. Protestation 
admitted. P. C. R. 

1609, June 6. Mr Archibald Douglas, parson of Peebles, and 
Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, charged to renew their assurances of 
peace until i June 1610. P. C. R. 

1610, Feb. 22. The provost, bailies, council, and community of 
Peebles sue Sir Robert Scott of Thirlstane for invading their lands with 
a number of men, destroying their ploughs, and threatening the lives of 
the complainers. The Privy Council order the captain of the king's 
guard to apprehend the parties complained against, and bring them to 
justice./ 1 . C. R. 

1610, Feb. 22. The presbytery of Peebles complain to the Privy 
Council that the practice of burying in churches, especially the church 
of Innerleithen, in their bounds, was continued, in spite of an ordnance 
of the General Assembly, which was approved by the King and Council. 
The Lords ordain that none shall bury within churches but those who 
have a heritable right, or shall receive the consent of the minister and 
elders, under a penalty of ^40. P. C. R. 

1610, Aug. 30. Which day, before the Privy Council, compeared 
'James Vetch in Stewartoun, and having humblie, upon his kneis, grantit 
and confest that he had sclandcrit Jonas Hamiltoun of Quotquoit, 
and Alexander Hamiltoun, his brother, in stating thame to have bene the 
outputteris of certane guidis and geir stowin fra Ramsay of Whitehill, 
and thairfore he humblie cravit the said Jonas' forgivenes ; lykeas Jonas 
being present, forgave the said James, tuke him be the hand, and was 
reconsiliat with him. And siklyk, compeirit William Veitch of Dawik, 
and become suritie that the said James Veitch sail compeir at the kirk 


of Newbottle, upon Sunday nixt afoir none, and thair, in presence of 
parrochynnaris, sail confes his offence, and crave thame forgivenes, 
under the pane of ^1000 ' Scots. P. C. R. 

1611, Feb. 21 Robert Horsburgh, burgess of Peebles, complains to 
the Privy Council, that on the 7th instant, William Scott, son to Philip 
Scott of Dryhope, with his accomplices, to the number of twelve persons, 
' bodin in feir of weir,' came, under cloud and silence of night, about 
ten hours at even, to the complainer's ' dwelling-house within the said 
burgh, quhair he and his familie wer repairing to thair beddis, and thair 
perforce enterit within the said house, and invadit and persewit him for 
his bodelie harm and slauchter, gaif him mony bauch, bla, and bluidy 
straikis on divers pairtis of his bodie, of purpois to have slane the 
complenair, quhilk they had done, wer not he relevit be certane 
of the inhabitants.' Defender not appearing, is denounced rebel. 
P. C. R. 

To what extent William Horsburgh, brother to the laird of 
that Ilk, paid the penalty for his transgressions, does not appear. 
That he was not greatly worse than the other members of 
the family, appears from an entry in the Record, June 27, 1611, 
when there is a serious complaint lodged against the laird 
and his sons. It sets forth ' that Alexander Horsburgh of that 
Ilk, and Alexander, William, and John Horsburgh, his sons, 
have, during the last four years, worne hagbutis and pistolletis, 
and at everie tyme thay had occasion to repair from thair 
awne houses on horse or fute, thay came nevir ane myle without 
pistolletis or hagbutis in thair handis, as also ordinarilie with 
swordis, and as yet continues thair violation of his Hienes lawis 

in so far as, upon the day of June instant, Alexander 

Hay wes upon the landis of Sheilgrene, without company or 
armour, and having some grudge aganis him, thay all horsit, 
and with grite speid went to the pairt quhair the said Alexander 
Hay wes, and as soon as thay came in sicht of him, thay kuist 
thair cloikis frome thame, took their swordis and pistolletis in 
thair handis, and with all thair speid ran toward the said 
Alexander Hay, chassit him ane myle towardis ane house of 
his fatheris, and had not he left his horse and taken to his fute, 
having the advantage of ane hill whiche wes not verie possible 
to thame to wone on horsbak, thay had not faillit to have slane 


the said Alexander Hay.' The defenders were assoilzied for 
want of proof. P. C. R. 

The preceding complaint of Hay, younger, of Smithfield, 
against the Horsburghs, probably led to the case which, on the 
nth of July, comes before the Council. Alexander Horsburgh 
of that Ilk states that, on the 2d instant, ' John Hay of Smith- 
field, Alexander Hay, heir appeirand of Smithfield, and John 
Hay, both sons of the said John Hay of Smithfield, accompanied 
with Archibald Hamilton and John Young, servandis of the said 
John Hay, Walter Somervill, servand to the said Alexander 
Hay, and William Dickson, younger in Smithfield, with utheris, 
with swordis, gantillatis, plaitslevis, steill bonnetis, jakkis, lances, 
and uther wapponis, came to the said complenair, and quhairof 
he and his predecessouris hes bene in peacable possession thir 
mony yeiris bygane past memorie of man, quhair the said 
complenair his cattail, scheip, and bestiall wer for the tyme 
pasturing, and thair set lances to thair thyis, brak at the said 
bestiall, and aftir a most insolent maner, houndit, chassit, and 
drave away the said haill guidis and bestiall off the said com- 
montie of Glentres, and hes hurt, bloodit, and deidlie woundit 
a grite number of the said bestiall in the flankis, brochis, and 
uther pairtis of thair bodyis, quhairof a grite mony thairthrow 
are liklie to die.' The defenders were assoilzied upon their oath, 
to which the truth was referred. 

The feud of old standing between the Veitches of Dawick and 
the Tweedies of Drummelzier was still unappeased in March 
1611, and besides giving trouble to the Privy Council, surprises 
the king, who now, after a residence of about eight years in 
England, expected to hear no more of these two turbulent 
Peeblesshire families. The Lords of the Privy Council are now 
ordered to call before them the principals of both surnames, and 
then adopt measures for removing the feud, and effecting mutual 
reconciliation between them. On the nth of the same month, 
Mr Richard Powrie, minister at Dawick, sues William Tweedie, 
who was in prison, for uttering reproachful speeches against the 
king and Lords of Council, and for pursuing the complainer with 


the intent of taking his life. Some of the king's guard are 
ordered to bring Tweedie from the tolbooth of Peebles to 
Edinburgh, there ' to be wardit in the theivis hoill,' and to 
secure a number of witnesses to be examined in the case. These 
witnesses are chiefly tenants in the parish of Stobo, two of them 
being ' John Alexander callit Over John, and John Alexander 
callit Nether John.' While Tweedie is in ward, he is to pay his 
own expenses. 

1612, Sept. ii. James Noble, in the Eistburne of Stobo, son of the 
deceased John Noble there, with the rest of their kinsmen, complain 
that John Scott, called the Clerk in Elrig, murderer of said John Noble, 
and denounced rebel in default of finding security for his appearance 
before the Council, is still at large. The Lords order the captain of 
the king's guard to bring him to justice. P. C. J?. 

1613, July 15. Sir Robert Stewart, tutor of Traquair, complains that 
William Haliburton in Whitrig, denounced rebel for not appearing to 
answer touching ' his allegeit presenting of ane bendit hagbute to the 
said Schir Robert, avowing to shoote him thairwith, gif he quarrillit or 
fand fault with him.' The Lords order the captain of the king's guard 
to bring him to justice. P. C. R. 

In 1615, we again unpleasantly hear of the Horsburghs. On 
the nth of July, 'John Johnstone in Lie' probably the farm 
now called the Lee, parish of Innerleithen complains that being 
one day lately ' within the burgh of Peblis, William Horsburgh, 
son to the Laird of Horsburgh, came to the said complenair, 
feirslie set upon him, and with a drawne sword shamefullie 
invadit him, gaif him a deidlie wound on the head, and woundit 
him in divers uther pairts, and left him lyand for deid.' Defender 
not appearing, is denounced rebel. P. C. R. 

Little more than a month afterwards, the Laird of Horsburgh 
complains of the conduct of his eldest son, who seems to have 
been quite as troublesome a youth as his brother William. 
Under date August 23, 1615, the laird piteously states to the 
Privy Council, ' That Alexander Horsburgh, his eldest son, 
having shaikcn off all feir of God, reverence of the law, and that 
natural regaird and dcwtie quhilk he audit to his said father, and 
being unmyndful of the exceeding grite favouris whilk he bore to 


him, and of the mony benefits done be his father to him, he hes 
verie unnaturallie behavit himselff to the said complenair thir 
divers yeiris bigone, not onlie be drawing mony unnecessar 
actions of pley [law-pleas] upon him, constraining him thairby to 
tyne his tyme, and to spend his geir ; but with that he hes socht, 
and still seikis the undoing of his said fatheris house and leving, 
descendit to him from so mony progenitouris. And becaus he 
perseives that his father and his other bairnis doeth quhat in 
thame lyis to preserve thair fatheris leving from utter wraik, 
and hes frustrat some of his wicked desynes, he hes thairfore 
conseivit siche a haitrit that nothing can content him but thair 
lyves ; and his said father fearis that he will attempt some violent 
purpois aganis his lyfe, as namlie, in 1610, he set upon Walter 
Horsburgh, the complenaris son, at his awne yett, with a drawn 
sword, and persewit him for his lyfe a long tyme, gaif him 
fyve deidlie woundis, and has mutilat him in his leg, sae that he 
was constraynit, for saftie of the said Walteris lyfe, to send him 
out of the countrey ; and at Martymas last, the said Alexander 
lay await for John Horsburgh, the complenaris son, as he was 
coming out of the toun of Peblis, and presentit ane bendit 
pistollet at him, quhilk be the providence of God having 
misgevin, he persewit him with a drawn sword, resolvit to haif 
slane him, wer not his son bettir defence.' This young scape- 
grace not appearing to answer the charge brought against him, 
is denounced rebel a circumstance which gave the incipient 
sheriff-depute no concern, for he continued to go about as usual, 
and was again complained of by his father on the 25th of 
January 1616. The captain of the king's guard is now ordered 
to apprehend and produce him ; but if he was captured, it would 
only be to be liberated on giving some sort of security for future 
good-behaviour. No notice is taken of the fact. 

1616, Feb. i. James Eistoun, burgess of Edinburgh, complains that 
one day lately, as he was ' coming from the Lynkes of Leith, quhair he 
had bene recreating himselff at the gowff, to the burgh of Edinburgh, 
quhair he hes his residence,' he was set upon by James Tweedy, son to Mr 
John Tweedy of Dreva, who ' invadit him with a drawn sword, gaif furth 


mony straikis at him, cuttit his hat and cloik, raschit him to the ground, 
and reft from the complenair his cloub, quhairwith he defendit himselff, 
and thairwith gaif the complenair mony bauch, bla, and bluidy strykis to 
have slane him, wer not he stayit be certane personis thair present.' The 
Lords order Tweedy to put himself in ward in the tolbooth of Edinburgh 
within six days, and to remain there till freed by the said Lords. 
P. C. X. 

1616, Feb. 6. Sir John Stewart of Traquair, and his tutor, Sir Robert 
Stewart of Schillinglaw, complain that Adam Goold, a king's messenger, 
who, on their behalf, was executing a warrant of poinding four ky and 
oxen, against William Trumble, younger of Bedrule, had been unlawfully 
deforced by Thomas, eldest son of the said William, and George Douglas, 
his servand ; ' thay not onlie stayit the said messenger fra taking away of 
the said goodis, bot pat violent handis on the said messenger, and held 
and detenit him houris ; lykeas the said personis, in farder contempt of 
his Majestic, wore hagbutis and pistollets.' Defenders not appearing, 
are denounced rebels. P. C. R. 

1616, March 7. Complaint of John Govan of Cardrona That upon 
the last day of November, Alexander Horsburgh, younger of that Ilk, as 
principal, and Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, James Sandilands of 
Bold, and James Horsburgh, wobster, burgess of Peebles, as cautioners 
for him, were denounced rebels at the complainer's instance, for non- 
payment of 1200 merks, of which they remain unrelaxt. The captain of 
the king's guard is ordered to apprehend them. P. C. R. 

1616, March 21. John Stewart of Traquair, and Stewart of Schilling- 
law, complain that William Trumble, younger of Bedrule, Thomas 
Trumble, his son, and George Douglas, his servand, denounced rebels 
on the nth instant, are still at large. The captain of the king's guard 
is ordered to apprehend them. P. C. R. 

1616, Nov. 14. Mr Alexander Bow, parson of Stobo, complains that 
James Tweedie of Dreva, who was, at his instance, on 2oth May last, 
denounced a rebel, ' for not payment to him of the sowme of 250 merkis 
money for Beltine termes payment of his stipend,' is still at large. The 
captain of the king's guard is ordered to bring him to justice. On the 
1 6th of December, Mr Richard Powrie, minister of Dawick, makes a 
similar complaint against Tweedy and his son, and a similar order is 
issued, probably without avail, for there soon after occur several cases in 
which the Tweedies are in ward for debt. P. C. R. 

1616, Dec. 16. James Thomson in Windidoris complains to the 
Privy Council, that being in the burgh of Peebles doing his lawful affairs, 
the provost and bailies caused tak and commit him to the tolbooth, 
where he is still detained without a decreit, he being His Majesty's free 


liege. The complainer appears by his procurator ; and as the provost 
and bailies do not appear in answer to the summons, they are denounced 
rebels./'. C. R. 

The visit of James VI. to Scotland, in May 1617, caused much 
ceremonious rejoicing among the lieges. His Majesty entered 
the country by Berwickshire ; and after remaining some time 
in Edinburgh, and making several excursions, he returned to 
England by way of Glasgow and Dumfries. In this final 
journey towards the border, he did not take his state-carriage 
with him, perhaps in consequence of the badness of the roads, 
but left it at Edinburgh, to be forwarded through Peeblesshire, 
so as to meet the royal retinue. Accordingly, on the 8th of 
July, the following order appears in the Privy Council Records 
respecting the transit of this grand but very lumbering machine : 

Order respecting the king's carriage and household stuff now lying at 
Holyrood House, 'that the same sal be lifted by those of the scheriffdom 
of Edinburgh, upon the iyth July instant, and caryed thairfra to 
Brughtoun in Twedale, and whereas the scheriffdom of Peblis is the most 
adjacent scheriffdom that can assist this service, and carye the said 
carriage from Brughtoun to Dumfries, whilk service will require 50 horse 
or thairby, necessar it is that, according to the order tane in all uther 
pairtis whare his Majesties progress and journey lay, that the scheriff and 
his deputis see this service performit. Thairfor ordanis to charge the 
scheriff of Peblis and his deputis, and Sir Archibald Murray of Dernhall, 
convenair of the justices of peace, and the inhabitants,' with the due 
execution of this royal service. 

1617, July 31. William Veitch of Lyne complains that, ' upon 
occasion of ane accident whilk fell out within the toun of Kirkurd 
laitlie, quhair Malcolme Cokburne and Robert Hamiltoun were hurte, 
the said complenair was tane be the Laird of Skirling, who is ane privat 
person, becaus he happenit to be present, and he hes brocht him to 
Edinburgh, and committit him to waird within the hue hous of the 
tolbuith, and nane of his friendis sufferit to have access unto him.' 
Veitch states, in addition, that he had nothing to do with the hurting of 
the said persons, and only acted as a ' reddair, and did quhat in him lay 
to have sinderit thame.' The Lords set him at liberty, on finding 
caution for his appearance when required. P. C. R. 

On the 22d of October 1617, a strange case comes before the 
Privy Council respecting a quarrel about rights to lands in the 


parish of Innerleithen. Agnes Lawder, liferenter of the lands of 
Pirn, and Richard and John Lawder, her sons, complain that 
John Scott, their tenant in these lands, had, along with his 
bairns, brother-in-law, and servants, resolved to seize on the 
heritable possession of the property ; and because this unreason- 
able design was resisted, ' James Cairncross, son to Charles 
Cairncross of Birksueip, came to the said landis of Pirne, and 
houndit thair bestiall and guidis off the said landis, invadit the 
said Richard 'and John ; gaif John a nomber of strykis with a 
grite fork, quhairwith he fellit him deid to the ground; and 
strak the said Richard in the thie with quhingair ; and Agnes 
Cairncross, spous to John Scott, younger, upon the 24 day of 
September last, upbraided the said Agnes Lawder, hir maistres, 
calling hir' by a most opprobrious epithet, for which she was 
summoned to appear before the minister and elders of the parish 
on the following Sunday ; but when she appeared in the kirk, 
she broke out worse than ever, vowing that ' afore she sleipit, she 
sould gif the said Agnes better caus to complain, and that she 
sould mak hir to haif a cauld armefull of some of hir bairnis.' 
And that same day, she convened the Scotts and Cairncrosses 
under cloud of night, and with spears and other weapons, the 
party invaded the house of the Lawders, ' dang the said Richard 
throw the airme with a lance, chaisit him and his bruther, strak 
a nomber of strykis at the said John Lawder with drawne swordis, 
quhairby thay have mutilat him of twa fingeris of his hand, and 
left him and his said bruther for deid.' Defenders assoilzied for 
want of proof. The case on the one side being thus disposed of, 
next comes on the per contra, under same date. 

John Scott in Pirn ; Agnes Cairncross, his spouse ; Charles 
Cairncross, and one of his servants, complain that John Lawder 
in Pirn came to the lands of Birksuip, and there invaded the 
said Charles and said servant ' with a grite kent [stick], and left 
him lyand on the ground for deid.' And further, that upon - 
day of September, being Sunday, Richard Lawder in Pirn, and 
John, his brother, 'came by way of hamesuckin to the said John 
Scottis dwelling-house in Pirne, and thair set upon him with 


drawne swordis, on purpois to have slane him, quhilk he would 
have done, had not he inclosit himselff within his awne house ; 
and forgathering with the said Agnes, his spous, thay without 
pitie persewit hir with drawne swordis, and gaif hir a grite wound 
in the heid, quhairby she wants a grite pairt of the harne-pane 
[skull] of hir heid, and left hir for deid.' Truth of the averments 
being referred to the oath of the defenders, the whole matter was 
denied, and they were consequently assoilzied ; but both parties 
were ordered to find caution to keep the peace. This is one of 
numerous examples of false charge or perjury coming before the 

1618, March 19. Anent letters raised at the instance of the provost 

and bailies of Peebles, complaining that upon the of February last, 

John Govan in Peebles having invaded William Porteous in Peebles 
' for his bodelie harm and slauchter, and being commandit be Charles 
Pringle, bailie, to go to waird, hes not onlie refusit, but most insolentlie 
strak the bailie, and persewit him for his lyff, for the quhilk he being be 
the nichbouris tane to waird, he all that day indirectlie causit suche 
friendis as he had in the said burgh to brek the tolbuith dure, and to 
tak him oute ; lykeas be his persuasine, William Gibsoun in Cailzie, and 
William Scott, servitor to Paterson of Langcoitt, came under cloud and 
silence of nicht to the tolbuith, brak up the duris, and tooke the said 
John furth.' Gibson and Scott not appearing, are denounced rebels. 
P. C. R. 

1618, March 26. Sir Robert Stewart of Schillinglaw complains that 
David Stewart, brother to James Stewart of Tynnes, a cadet of the 
House of Traquair, being slain by Andro Pringle, son to the deceased 
James Pringle of Tynnes, who was accidentally accompanied by James 
Murray, the brother of Sir John Murray of Philiphaugh, sheriff of 
Ettrick Forest, Patrick Murray of Kirkhouse, and John Murray of New- 
hall; and this slaughter being likely to produce a feud between the 
House of Traquair and Sir John Murray, their friends and allies, Sir 
Robert engaged when he should become tutor to his nephew the Laird 
of Traquair, to entertain overtures of continued friendship with Murray. 
These overtures took the form of a submission (from which Andrew 
Pringle was excluded), decreeing by arbiters that satisfaction should be 
made to the children of the deceased David, who were to become 
bound on their majority to sign ' letters of slains,' authorised by their 
tutors and curators. Nevertheless, John Stewart, son of the deceased 
David, and now major, and Alexander Stewart, son of James Stewart 


of Tynnes, his cousin-german, refuse to sign letters of skins, and 
inclined to produce a feud between the families. The defenders not 
appearing, are denounced rebels. But they afterwards appear, sign the 
letters, and the decree against them is suspended. P. C. R. 

1619, July 20. John Stewart of Traquair prosecutes Walter Turnbull 
of Bedrule, and others, for unlawfully cutting down and taking away his 
woods. And on Aug. 25, he prosecutes the Turnbulls for carrying away 
' 30 darge of hay.' Defenders not appearing, are denounced rebels. 
P. C. JR. 

1620, March 30.' The provost and bailies of the burgh of Peebles 
complain that on the loth instant, Beatrix Ker Lady Gladstanes, William, 
Robert, and James, her sons, Robert Dickson in Hundelshope, Alex- 
ander Melros there, and William Ker, plewman there, with about ten 
other persons, ' all bodin in feir of weir, came to the commontie of the 
burgh called Kaidmuir, quhair some of the inhabitants were occupied in 
thair lauchful affairis, upon thair awne heritage, and thair threatnit thame 
with death gif they depairtit not the ground, and did quhat in thame lay 
to have brokin His Majesties peace, and to have committit some open 
insolence against the complenaris.' William Elliote, provost, John 
Dickson, bailie, and James Williamson, late bailie, made appearance as 
complainers. Defenders not appearing, are denounced rebels. P. C. JR. 

1620, Aug. 23. William Elliote, provost, John Dickson and John 
Louis, bailies, and Alexander Mure, treasurer, and the whole council of 
Peebles, apply for suspension of letters of horning raised against them at 
the instance of Alexander Lawder of Halton, charging them to find 
caution for his indemnity, or for that of John Lawder his herd, under 
penalty of 3000 merks, and being denounced rebels because the 
penalty far exceeds the sum specified in the act of parliament. Letters 
of horning suspended. P. C. JR. 

For some years about this period, the books of the Privy 
Council bear frequent entries concerning debts incurred by the 
Tweedies, with denunciations of hornings and captions. Pressed 
by financial difficulties, they begin to dispose of their lands, and 
the clan in its several branches would otherwise appear to have 
been now approaching that crisis which naturally ensued from 
generations of turbulence and defiance of the law ; the wonder 
really being that they had not long since been swept as brigands 
from the county. With this explanation, we are not unprepared 
for the following strange circumstances connected with the sale 
of Halmyre. 


1621, July 21. John Murray of Halmyrc states, 'That he 
having laitlie bought certane landis fra James Tweedie, sometyme 
of Dreva, at the pryce agreit on, and so thinking in peace to 
have possessit his landis, it is of a treuthe that Thomas Tweedie 
in Dunsyre, and William Tweedie of Scottistoun, brether to the 
said James, resolved to force the complenair to buy thair kynd- 
ness [that is, give them a present in token of good-will on 
acquiring lands from their kinsman], or then to haif his lyff, or 
els to lay his landis waist ; ' and the complainer learning that, 
notwithstanding their pretended friendship, they cherished some 
hatred against him, he raised letters of horning against them on 
10 May last, 'quhairof the charge was no sooner execute, but 
thay avowit that thay sould haif his lyff, before thay fand 
caution, and for the execution of this thair resolution, thay 
upon the 1 3 day of the said month maid search for the comple- 
nair, about his house, demanding first at James Tweedie in the 
Deaneis of Romanno quhair the said complenair was, and thair- 

eftir at James Smaill and Alexander , his awne tennentis of 

Halmyre, and knawing be thame that he had riddin to the 
Walkfeild, but thair finding that he was riddin away, the said 
Thomas sent to the plais of Coitquoit for his sones best horse, 
quhilk being brought, he and his bruthir horssit and followit 
the complenair to Lintoun, and fra that to his awne house ;' there 
4 thay drew thair sword is, and before the complenair was able to 
haif maid his defence, gaif him ane grite straik upon his left leg, 
by the quhilk he fell to the ground, and being lyand, thay gaif 
him a number of deidlie straikis, and left him as a dead man, 
and threattnit his tennents to haif thair lyves gif thay labourit 
the said landis.' P. C. R. The defenders were ordered to be 
committed to prison ; but it will immediately appear that the 
order was not executed. 

Same dale. Thomas Tweedie, portioner of Netherurde, and 
William Tweedie of Scottistoun, complain that John Murray of 
Halmyre having lately charged them to find legal security to 
keep the peace towards him, they attempted to settle the matter 
in a friendly way, but he having in company with James Murray 


of Romanno, and Thomas Edmond in Slipperfield, attacked 
them at the Bromehouse, between Linton and Edinburgh, and 
seriously wounded Thomas Tweedie. Defenders assoilzied on 
the ground that the pursuers were the first to attack. P. C. R. 

Same date. John Murray of Halmyre complains that John 
Tweedie of Dreva, John Tweedie his son, feir thairof, Mr James 
Tweedie, portioner of Stobo, Thomas Tweedie of Dunsyre, Mr 
John Tweedie of Winkistoun, John Tweedie of Henderl ethane, 
Walter Tweedie, son to said James of Dreva, William Tweedie 
of Scottistoun, Alexander Tweedie in Broughtoun, son to said 
John Tweedie of Dreva, and William Tweedie, son to said John 
Tweedie of Henderl ethane, all denounced rebels for not finding 
caution to keep the complainer skaithless, are still at large. 
Captain of the king's guard ordered to apprehend them and 
bring them to justice. P. C. R. 

Amidst these scandalous feuds, which reflect little credit on 
the past history of the county, Peebles received from James VI. 
a special mark of his favour, by being granted a charter not only 
in ratification, but in extension of former privileges as a royal 
burgh. In this important document, which, confirmed by 
parliament November 17, 1641, has ever since remained the 
palladium of the town in its corporate capacity, the king 
graciously refers to the services rendered by the inhabitants, 'not 
only by defending the country against foreign enemies, but also 
by exposing their persons and estates to open and evident 
oppression, as well by struggling on the borders of England as 
of Scotland, and likewise the great prejudice and loss sustained 
by them from thence, both in punishing transgressors and other 
disturbers within the bounds of our kingdom, their city being 
often spoiled, burnt, and laid waste, and desolated, lying contigu- 
ous to the said borders.' 1 Looking to the extensive commons, 
including Kingsmuir, Caidmuir, Hamildean, Venlaw, and Glen- 
tress, also the lands, houses, fishings, multures, customs, and 
sequestrated ecclesiastical property described in this munificent 

1 For the charter entire, see Appendix. 


charter, we might be justified in saying that few burghs in 
Scotland had its existence so carefully provided for ; and further, 
that a history of the alienation of so much wealth, were it 
possible to tell it minutely, would constitute one of the darkest 
chapters in the annals of civic maladministration. 

To the end of King James's life he was destined to hear of 
nothing but scenes of violence and contempt of law in Peebles- 
shire. We close for the present with a notice of three 
characteristic incidents. 

1622, Aug. 28. Complaint is made by John Tuedy of Winkiston, 
that he having a number of kye and oxen pasturing on the lands of 
Broughtoun, James Pattersane in Myreburn in Dreva, with his son and 
others, all bodin in feir of weir, came to the complainer's lands, and drove 
away his said cattle to the close of Dreva, and thair, with swords and 
knyves cut the tails and rumples of ten or twelf of the poore beasts, sa 
shamefullie mangling them, that some of them are in danger of their 
lyves. Defenders assoilzied on oath, to which reference was made by 
complainer. P. C. R. 

1623, July 10. Complaint by John Lord Yester, sheriff-principal 
of county of Peebles, that George Kerr, sheriff-officer, being sent on 
the twentie day of Januar to the lands of Hawkshaw to poynd the 
redyest guides pertaining to Patrick Porteous of Hawkshaw, for his pairt 
of the present taxatioun, and having apprehend it certane catell and nolt, 
and used the ordinar forme to carry them to the mercat croce of 
Peebles, there to have publicly sold the same, the said Patrick with his 
servands came after him and reft the said guides, and strake and dung 
him, wherefore that pairt of our Soveraine Lord's taxatioun is yet 
unpayit. Defender not appearing, is denounced rebel. P. C. R. 

1625, Feb. 3 John Laidlie in Cramalt having employed George Ker, 
sheriff-officer, to effect a poinding of ' the redyest guides pertening to 
Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, in satisfactioun of certane soums, the 
said officer past upon the fyft day of Januar last to the landis of Over 
Horsburgh, and apprehendit certane scheip pertening to the said Laird 
of Horsburgh, whilk after he had appraised upon the ground, and 
maid offer thairof to the partie and all others having interest, and nane 
appearing to accept of the same, he being carrying the same to the 
mercat croce of Peebles, John and Robert Horsburgh, brethir to the 
said Alexander, with thair complices to the number of xv. or saxtene, 
came after the complenair and his friendis, and having overtaikin thame 
at the East Port of Peebles, set upon and prest violentlie to drive bale 



the scheip ; and the officier and his witnesses having come forwart with 
the scheip to the mercat croce of the said burgh, the said personis set 
upon the messenger and his witnesses, threatened to bereave him of his 
lyfe gif he medlet any farther with the said scheip, lykewise thay not 
onlie strak out diverse straikis, but also threw at them a number of greit 
stanes.' Defenders assoilzied for want of proof. P. C. jR. 

In the above affair, Horsburgh, as sheriff-depute, is placed in 
an awkward position. Sheep being legally carried away from 
his lands in satisfaction for debt, his brothers deforce the 
officiating messenger, who was doubtless acting under some kind 
of regular warrant. The uproar which ensues at the cross of 
Peebles, where the infuriated Horsburghs and a band of their 
accomplices strike and throw stones at the unfortunate messenger 
and his concurrents, is among the most ludicrous incidents it has 
been our fortune to bring to light. 


THE accession of Charles I., in 1625, was marked by no 
event in Peeblesshire of which there is any special record. 
There continued to be occasional feuds among the gentry, 
who had not yet learned to submit their disputes, in all cases, to 
the arbitration of law. Things in this respect, however, were 
mending. In the reign of Charles I., and more particularly 
during the Protectorate of Cromwell, the government was con- 
ducted with more vigour than it had been previously. The 
Justice ayres, which, as provincial courts of justiciary, had visited 
Peebles from a period as early as the time of David I., swept off 
criminal arrears with a growing and somewhat alarming dis- 
respect of rank. The sheriffs, principal and depute, conducted 
themselves a little more discreetly. Above all, there now arose 
a set of petty spiritual courts, which, on the ground of exercising 
church-discipline, took cognizance of every department of public 
morals ; and there is now presented the amusing spectacle of 
irascible and rebellious lairds so cowed into subjection as 
to pillory themselves barefoot on the stool of repentance at 
the orders of a parish kirk-session. Fortunately, when facts 
of this kind are needed to supplement our too meagre nar- 
rative, we are able to resort to two Records those of the 
Presbytery of Peebles, and of the several kirk-sessions through- 
out the county. To do the spiritual dignitaries of the shire justice, 



whatever we may think of their intelligence and taste, they 
meant well an excuse of extensive application and assuredly 
they did not exceed the limits permitted by the General 
Assembly and Parliament. Three things, inter alia, they 
endeavoured with ceaseless urgency to effect to extirpate the 
old superstitious practices which still lingered among the common 
people ; to hunt down and burn witches ; and to compel a scrupu- 
lous attention to the weekly Sabbath. The records before us 
abound in so many entries concerning these grave subjects, that 
we can do no more than make a selection of extracts. The first 
two refer to that curious method of vaticination called ' turning 
the riddle/ which had for its object the discovery of a thief. 

1626, July 6. Which day compeared before the Presbytery Janet 
Henderson in Blythe, within the parish of Linton, and accused of 
' turning the riddle,' confessed the same, and came in the will of the 
Presbytery. She was ordained to stand six Sabbath-days at the kirk-door 
and place of public repentance at the kirk of Linton, with her feet bare, 
and clothed in sackcloth, to begin the next Sabbath. There publicly to 
confess her sins, and that sin in particular, and that she has been an 
odious and vile deceiver of the people. And farther, the said Janet was 
bound and obliged herself, that if, in any time hereafter, she should be 
found doing the like, or using any such charms, she should be held 
guilty of witchcraft, and suffer accordingly. P. R. 

Same day. Richard Johnstone in Slipperfield, and Helen Hay, his 
spouse, parishioners, were delated under suspicion of 'turning the 
riddle,' and were summoned to the next meeting. They were prevented 
doing so by sickness, and latterly by the death of the woman. The 
whole case was referred to the session of Linton. P. R. 

The charm of ' turning the riddle' was practised in the follow- 
ing manner. A pair of scissors was stuck in the rim of the 
riddle, with a string through their eyes, in which two persons put 
each his forefinger, and suspended the riddle between them, 
and after spitting east, west, north, and south, they said : 

' By St Peter and St Paul, 
By the virtues of them all, 
If it was Rob that stealed the plaid, 
Turn, riddle, turn." 

If 'Rob' were the thief the riddle turned at the mention of 


his name, and thus the delinquent was detected. We are 
informed that a riddle was in this manner turned about fifty 
years ago, when the shop of a shoemaker in Peebles was 
broken into, for the purpose of discovering who was the 

In the present latitudinarian age, people are allowed to select 
the place of public worship which they are pleased to attend ; 
but in the reign of Charles I., every one had punctiliously to 
keep to his own parish church under pain of censure. 

On the I4th of September 1626, Mr Richard Powrie, minister 
of Dawick, complained to the Presbytery that the Laird of 
Dawick did not attend his own parish kirk. This being a 
serious charge, the members appoint a committee of four of their 
number to wait on the said laird, and ask his reasons for this 
extraordinary conduct, and what he intended to do hereafter. 
The report of the committee, which is brought up on the 4th of 
October, bears that the laird is very obstinate. Much displeased, 
the Presbytery cited the laird to appear at next meeting, which 
he neglected to do, and also failed to appear to answer the 
charge against him on several subsequent occasions. At length, 
properly worn out, the laird gave in his reasons for not attending 
his own parish kirk, but with these the brethren were not 
satisfied, and issued an edict strictly enjoining the laird ' to keep 
to his own kirk ' in all time coming, under pain of censure, unless 
he could give some valid excuse. P. R. 

A similar case occurs in the Presbytery record, October 
19, 1626. Thomas Hay of Scroggs, a place in the parish of 
Lyne, was complained of by Mr Thomas Hog, minister of Stobo, 
for not keeping to his own parish kirk, and for frequenting other 
kirks. The delinquent happening to be present, and hearing 
the accusation against him, declared that he did not haunt the 
kirk of Stobo, though it was true he frequented other kirks as 
occasion offered ; besides, he really did not know which was his 
own parish kirk, as it was doubtful whether Scroggs was in 
Stobo or Lyne. The Presbytery decided that Scroggs was in 
Lyne, and the church of that parish he, the said Thomas Hay, 


must attend in future. At the same time, a general injunction is 
issued to the effect that every one must attend his own parish 
kirk, and no other. P. R, 

Nov. 2. James Douglas of Cowthropple, a place in the 
parish of Newlands, is accused before the Presbytery of absenting 
himself from the kirk-session, of which he was a member. 
Douglas stated in defence, that he had quitted the session 
on the occasion of ane great wrong he had sustained at the hands 
of Andro Murray of Romanno, one of his fellow-elders, who, ia 
the time of the sitting, within the house of the Lord, had called 
him a liar to his face. The complaint given in was that Murray 
had said to Douglas, in the hearing of all the people, that his 
wife's waistcoat was not honest, and neither was any of his gear 
or that of his parents, or of any Douglas in Scotland. Murray 
denied having uttered these offensive expressions, but admitted 
having said something disparagingly to Douglas respecting his 
wife's waistcoat. It being found that Murray was not entitled 
to call Douglas a liar, he was deposed for his offence, and 
compelled to satisfy by standing on the stool of repentance. 
P. R. 

1627, Jan. 4. This day compeared Margaret Dalgliesh, widow 
in Peebles, accused of witchcraft and charming. Margaret denied 
the charge, nor could any point be proved against her, except 
that of uttering speeches in which she menaced some evil to a 
person with whom she was at variance. So far she confessed, 
and craved God's pardon, at the same time declaring herself free 
of witchcraft, and that her speeches were for harm upon them by 
ordinary means, and not by witchcraft. She bound herself not 
to do the like again, and is told that if she does, she will be 
punished. P. R. 

On the 25th of January 1627, the Privy Council, referring to 
an act appointing Weapon Shows in the different counties, order 
that the Weapon Show of the sheriffdom of Peebles shall take 
place on Friday the i$th of June next. In obedience to this 
command, a Weapon Show, or, as it used to be called, a 
Wappen Shawing, took place accordingly, under the direction of 


Nasmyth of Posso, who at this time occupied the office of 
sheriff-depute ; the place of meeting being the open ground on 
the south side of the Tweed, called the King's Muir. The 
following is an accurate account of the meeting, along with a 
list of those who were absent :* 

* At that place of the Borrow Muir of Peebles called the King's Muir; 
in presence of James Nasmyth of Posso, Sheriff-depute of the Sheriffdom 
of Peebles, the i5th day of June 1627, being the ordinary day and place 
appointed for the mustering and showing of weapons of the said sheriff- 
dom ; conform to an act made by the Lords of His Majesty's Secret 
Council thereanent, and publication following thereon : Compeared the 
Barons and others under-wrytt ; and gave in their musters, and showing 
of the weapons, in manner following, viz. : 

William Brown in Wester Happrew, bailie to my Lord Yester ; in his 
lordship's name, weil horsit, with jack, plet sleeves, steil bonnet, pistol, 
and sword ; accompanied with threescore five horsemen and four futmen, 
all with lances and swords, dwelling on the said noble Lord his lands, in 
the parishes of Peebles, Line, Stobo, and Drummelzier. 

James Cheisholm in Glenholm, for my Lord Earl of Wigton ; weil 
horsit himself, accompanied with seven horsemen, with lances and 
swords, dwelling on the said noble Earl his lands, lying in the parish of 

Sir Archibald Murray of Darnhall, weil horsit, with a collet ; accom- 
panied with forty-two horsemen, with lances and swords, ten jacks and 
steil bonnets ; within the parishes of Kilbucho and Edilston. 

The Laird of Glenkirk, absent himself; four of his men present, 
horsit, with lances and swords ; within the parish of Glenholm. 

James Geddes of Rachan, present himself, weil horsit, with jack, steil 
bonnet, sword and pistol ; with five horsemen, with lances and swords ; 
within the parish of Glenholm. 

Adam Gillies, portioner of Whitslaid, present, weil horsed, with a lance 
and sword ; in the parish of Glenholm. 

James Cockburn, bailie for Sir Jo. Hamilton of Skirling, knight, 
present, for the said Sir John's name ; accompanied with horsemen, all 
with lances and swords, and four jacks ; in the parishes of Skirling and 

The Laird of Stenhous, absent himself; seven of his men present, 
horsit all, with lances and swords ; in the parish of Broughton. 

1 We copy from an old MS. in the Barns Papers. The account given by Armstrong, 
and reprinted in Brown's edition of Pennecuik, is extremely inaccurate, besides being 
deficient in the list of absentees. 


The Laird of Haldon, absent himself; Jo. Haldon, his bailie, present 
in his name, accompanied with ten horsemen and two futmen, all with 
lances and swords ; parish of Broughton. 

The Laird of Romanno, present, weil horsit, with ane sword, with 
four horsemen, with lances and swords ; parish of Newlands. 

The Laird of Halton, absent himself; nine of his men present, with 
lances and swords ; in the parishes of Peebles and Edilston. 

John Lawder of Foulage, present, for Foulage and Melinsland, weil 
horsit, with ane jack, plet sleeves, and steil bonnet, sword and lance ; 
within the parish of Peebles. 

The Laird of Smithfield, absent himself; seven of his men present, 
horsit, with ane futman, all with swords and lances ; parish of Peebles. 

Jo. Horsbrugh, present, for the lands of Hutchinfield, weil horsit, with 
collet, buff coat, steil bonnet, with lance and sword ; parish of Peebles. 

The Laird of Langla-hill, present, weil horsit, with jack, steil bonnet, 
with lance and sword ; with three horsemen, with swords and lances ; 
within the parish of Broughton. 

David Murray of Halmyre, weil horsit, accompanied with thirty-nine 
horsemen, and ane buff coat, collet ; all the rest with lances and swords ; 
within the parishes of Newlands, Stobo, and Drummelzier. 

Jo. Thomson in Bonington, present, horsit, with lance and sword; 
parish of Peebles. 

Jo. Bullo in Bonington, present, horsit, with sword and lance ; parish 
of Peebles. 

Jo. Scot of Hundilshop, absent himself; six of his men present, horsit, 
with two futmen, all with lances and swords ; parish of Menner. 

James Scot of Cruickston, absent himself; two of his men present, 
futmen, with lances and swords ; parish of Peebles. 

The Laird of Menner, present ; weil horsit, accompanied with seven 
horsemen, all with swords and lances ; within the parish of Menner. 

William Burnet, elder of Barns, present, weil horsit, with a buff coat 
and steil bonnet, lance and sword ; accompanied with seven horsemen, 
with lances and swords, with ane futman with a lance ; within the parish 
of Menner. 

Robert Porteous, for Winkston, present, with a buff coat, a pair of 
pistols, and a rapier. 

The Laird of Dawick, present, weil horsit, with ane sword ; accom- 
panied with ane horseman, with a sword and a lance ; parish of 

Robert Pringle of Chapelhill, present, weil horsit, with a lance, pistol, 
and sword ; and a futman with a lance. 

The Laird of Hartrie, absent himself; ten of his men present, horsit, 
with lances and swords ; parish of Kilbucho. 


William Brown of Logan, present, weil horsit, with lance and sword ; 
and ane horseman with nathing ; parish of Glenholm. 

Walter Scott of Glenrath, absent himself; four of his men present, 
horsit, with lances and swords, and ane steil bonnet ; in the parish of 

Roland Scott, for his part of Deins-houses, present, horsit, with 
jack, steil bonnet, sword, and lance ; parish of Newlands. 

, for his part of Deins-houses, present, horsit; with 

jack, steil bonnet, sword, and lance ; parish of Newlands. 

William Tweedie, younger of Wrae, present, horsit, with ane horse- 
man, baith with lance and sword ; parish of Glenholm. 

Jo. Paterson, portioner of Broughton-sheills, present, weil horsit, with 
lance and sword ; parish of Broughton. 

The Laird of Glack, absent himself; three of his men present, horsit, 
with twa lances and swords ; parish of Menner. 

The Laird of Halkshaw, absent himself; four of his men present, with 
three lances and swords, horsit ; parish of Drummelzier. 

The Laird of Posso, sheriff-depute foresaid, with buff coat, steil bonnet, 
twa pistols and sword, accompanied with fourteen horsemen, with lances 
and swords. 

The names of the Barons, Gentlemen, and Freeholders who were 
absent themselves, with their men, frae the said Wapon-shawing : 

My Lord Borthwick, for his hail lands in Tweeddale, absent. 

James Stewart of Easter Horsbrugh. 

Roger Purves, for his part of Purveshill. 

James Tait, for his part thereof. 

The Laird of Riddel, for his part thereof. 

Jo. Bryson, for his part thereof. 

The Laird of Glen. 

The Laird of Boninton-Scot. 

The Laird of Covington, for his part of Bold. 

Sir John Murray of Philiphaugh, for his part thereof. 

The Laird of Traquair. 

The Lord of Garlics, for the lands of Ormistoun. 

The Laird of Pirn. 

The Laird of Henderston. 

The Lord of Morton, for his hail lands in Tweeddale. 

The Lord of St John, for his hail lands in Tweeddale. 

The Laird of Cardrona. 

Gilbert Chisholm, for his part of Aikerfield. 

The Laird of Earlshaugh. 


My Lord Melros, for his hail lands of Tweeddale. 
The Lord of Halyrudhous, for his lands of Slipperfield. 
The Laird of Henderland.' 

The list of lairds and their retainers on this occasion is valuable 
as shewing who were the principal land-proprietors, and their 
relative power and importance, as likewise the method of arming 
and attending county musters in 1627. Other considerations are 
suggested. Neither at this nor at a later period do we hear of 
tenant-farmers, except as servants at the command of their 
masters. All had to turn out armed when ordered to do so, and 
compelled, as soldiers on horse or foot, to take part in military 
movements, which, doubtless, in some instances they secretly 
disliked. For this abject condition there was, however, no help. 
Lands were let only on the tenure of rendering military service 
in the cause espoused by the proprietors, and any shortcoming 
in this respect would have been visited with penalties which the 
local heritable jurisdictions would not have been slack in 
imposing. Constantly subject to these unpleasant demands, the 
tenantry likewise suffered from such fines as happened to be laid 
on their landlords for acts not agreeable to the higher authorities ; 
and the picture of their condition receives an additional shade 
from their poor style of living and means of subsistence. The 
sole exhilaration in the lot of the middle and lower classes in 
either town or country, was derived from a constant succession 
of public religious exercises, on which all were not only allowed 
but invited to pronounce a deliberate opinion. From numerous 
entries in the books of the Presbytery of Peebles, we learn that 
that venerable body took especial care to encourage the practice 
of criticising the sermons, life, and doctrine of ministers, such a 
usage being highly flattering to popular judgment, and calculated 
to establish a universal censorship of manners. 

1627, Feb. 15. The Presbytery visited the parish kirk of Peebles, in 
which the inhabitants were convened, in order to inquire whether they 
were satisfied with the doctrine and ministrations of the parson. All 
declared they were well satisfied, and praised God for so good a 
minister ; but they were not pleased with Hector Cranston, the vicar, 
whose duty consisted in reading a portion of the Scriptures daily, 


morning and evening. Cranston, who was old and infirm, was requested 
to resign. P. R. 

Same date. The minister of Glenholm complained of the wrong, 
abuse, and contempt done to the kirk of Glenholm, being the house of 
God, by Robert Crichton and others, in making ane tulzie in the said 
kirk after sermon, the congregation not being dismissed, by striking of 
ane gentleman with ane rung, whilk the said Robert had kept under his 
cloak, and thereafter be drawing of his sword. Crichton was ordered to 
be deprived of his office as elder, and all the parties were to be brought 
before the Privy Council. P. R. 

1628, Feb. Thomas Brunton accused of abusing the minister of 
Traquair, minting at [threatening to draw] his whinger, and saying what 
he should get for not allowing his father to be buried in the kirkyard. 
James Little, Willinslee, and William Temple, accused of having an 
enchanted stone for their cattle. P. R. 

Sept The minister of Kilbucho, at the visitation to that kirk, 
complained of John Thriepland muttering and whispering to the congre- 
gation in time of sermon, and speaking back to the minister when he 
commanded silence ; also, of his following the minister to the place of 
Hartree same afternoon, with sword and whinger, and wanting the 
minister to fight. Thriepland is found guilty, and ordered to satisfy in 
the usual manner. P. It. 

1628, July 15. Complaint made by Patrick Bullo, metster [measurer] 
and burgess of Peebles ; Mr John Bennet, minister at Kirkurd ; Mr 
John Hay, persoun of Stobo ; and Mr John Hamilton, minister at 
Linton, to the effect that Bullo had been employed, by an order from 
the Archbishop of Glasgow, to measure ' some aikers of land ' at Linton, 
for a glebe to the minister ; and that, while so occupied, John Tweedie 
in Linton, and a number of accomplices, threatened ' to take his lyffe if 
he desisted not ;' Tweedie also ' strake him in sundrie pairts of his bodie, 
tooke him by the shoulder, and violentlie flang him over ane high and 
stey brae, whairthrow he has so bruised him that he is not able to 
exercie his lawfull and ordinarie service ; and thairafter, in ane imperious 
and boisterous maner, commanded the complenairs to goe away, for 
they sould not gett leave to mett anie land thair.' Defender assoilzied, 
for want of proof. P. C. R. 

1628, July 29. David Murray of Halmyre and others complain that 
they have been charged ' to find caution for the indempnitie ' of Hunter 
of Polmood and others, their wives, bairns, tenants, and servants ; the 
said caution being excessive, and beyond what the law allows. Penalty 
for Murray modified from ^1000 to ^500, and for the other com- 
plainers from ^500 to ;ioo. [This was seemingly a case of obligation 
to keep the peace.] P. C. R. 


We now arrive at the finale of the Tweedies, who, according to 
an old-established method of ruination in other quarters besides 
Peeblesshire, had been living beyond their means, and at length, 
through debts and mortgages, were obliged to relinquish their 
possessions. With an inheritance shorn of its splendour, James 
Tweedie, the last of his name in Drummelzier, is in 1628 found 
a broken-down man in the tolbooth of Edinburgh, to which he 
had been consigned by his cousin and remorseless creditor, 
John Lord Hay of Yester, into whose family the lands of 
Drummelzier had now passed. We shall allow the last of a race 
that had tormented the county for centuries, to tell his own 
sorrowful tale. 

1628, Aug. 7. James Tuedie of Drummelzier complains to 
the Lords of the Privy Council ' that he has beene deteaned in 
ward within the tolbuith of Edinburgh five yeares and foure 
months bygane, at the instance of John Lord Hay of Yester, 
his cousine-germane, both in his own name and under colour 
and pretext of other men's names. Lykeas, he has not onlie 
unnaturallie deteaned the said compleaner in wofull captivitie, 
but apprysed his lands and heretage with the legal reversioun of 
the same, and intromettit with the whole rents thairof, whilk will 
far surmount onie burden or debt he can lay to the compleaner's 
charge ; and yet to kythe his causeless inimitie, he has not onlie 
stopped the decreit of libertie readie to have beene pronounced 
be the Lords of Sessioun, mynding thairby to appropriat unto 
himselffe be forged pleyes [pleas] his haill estait and rents, but 
also to deteane the compleaner's persoun in waird till his dying 
day ; whairas he haveing all that belongs unto the compleaner, 
he has nothing to susteane himselffe, but is lyke to starve unlesse 
the goodman of the tolbuith supplied his necessair wants.' It 
being decerned that Lord Yester shall either release Drummelzier, 
or allow him a weekly maintenance, to be fixed by the Lords, 
he consents to his release. P. C. R. [Exit Tweedie.] 

About this time, the Presbytery of Peebles seems to have been 
much engaged in the examination of witches, but no details are 
given. The Privy Council is similarly occupied. 


Sept. 27. Alexander Veitch in Horsburgh receives warrant to search 
for and apprehend Katherine Young, spouse to Alexander Peacoke, 
suspect and delate guiltie of the crime of witchcraft, and to take evidence 
to that effect to be laid before the Council. P. C. JR. 

1629, April. Certain parties who had attacked the minister of 
Dawick with rungs and -batons, having confessed their crime, were 
ordered to stand on the mercat-cross of Peebles, on Tyesday neist, being 
the mercat-day, with papers on their breasts setting forth their crime ; 
besides this, they were ordained to stand in sackcloth at the kirk-doors 
of Peebles, Kirkurd, Drummelzier, and Stobo. P. R. 

The inhabitants of Peebles complain to the Presbytery as to 
the want of week-day sermon. The matter being referred to the 
parson, he agrees to accede to the wishes of his flock by giving 
them a sermon daily ; and as the kirk is inconveniently situated, 
being outside the town, the chapel [formerly the chapel of Our 
Lady, west end of High Street] is ordered to be repaired and 
made suitable for the meetings being held there. The old pulpit 
to be removed from the kirk to the chapel, and a new one to be 
put in its place. P. R. 

1629. Complaint against John Dunlop, school-doctor in Peebles, for 
making ane riot in the kirk on 5th July last, and encroaching on the 
reader's function and place without lawful calling thereto, and making a 
great uproar. He was ordered to be cited. [This man appears to have 
been appointed assistant-reader by Mr Hector Cranston, an arrangement 
not allowed by the Presbytery.] P. R. 

Mr Andrew Watson admitted vicar of Peebles in the Cross Kirk, in 
presence of a great number of the parishioners. He was instituted in 
the usual form, the Holy Bible being given to him, and he enjoined to 
be faithful in his function. John Dunlop was prohibited from exercising 
the office of reader, and ordered to satisfy for his riot. P. R. 

July 21. The king appoints William, Earl of Menteith, President of 
the Council, Mr Thomas Henderson of Charteris, and Sir John Scott of 
Scottstarvit, two of the senators of the College of Justice, to hold a 
court at Peebles for the sheriffdom, on Tuesday, 27th of October, with 
continuation of days. P. C. R. 

1631, June 3. A case is this day brought before the Justiciary Court 
at Edinburgh, at the instance of Alexander Muir and David Plenderleith, 
bailies, and Thomas Tweedie, treasurer of the burgh of Peebles, with 
concurrence of His Majesty's Advocate. The following notes of the 
case are given in the Books of Adjournal : ' John Ker in Edderstoune is 


indicted for the slaughter of John Chalmer, common town-herd of 
Peebles. Alleged for the pannel, that the dittay is not relevant against 
him, because it bears that the pannel's brother gave him a stroak with a 
kent [stout walking-stick], of which the defunct is said to have dyed, so 
that it does not bear that the pannel did either invade or strike the 
defunct. Answer : The dittay bears that the pannel as a cause of the 
quarrel beat the defunct's son, and assisted his brother in pursuing 
the defunct with a kent in his hand, the pannel and his brother having 
lain darnal and in secret for his slaughter, as is lybelled. The justice 
finds the dittay relevant, and repels the allegations, and remits.' 

We do not see what was the ultimate decision on the case. 
For several days in succession, it is adjourned for trial, the last 
notice taken of it being, that ' it is remitted to this day aucht days.' 
At this period, as already stated, the court was much overtasked 
in trying persons accused of witchcraft ; the case immediately 
preceding that of Ker is one in which a man is found guilty of 
being * a warlock,' and adjudged to ' be worryit [strangled], and 
then burnt.' 

1631, Dec. 13. Anent letters raised at the instance of Archibald 
Johnestoun, servitour to Wilknie Johnestoune of Halmyre, merchant 

burges of Edinburgh, makand mention, That whereupon the day of 

November last, the said Archibald being in the dwelling-house of , 

in Lyntoun, doing his lawfull affaires, Patrick Murray, indweller in 
Edinburgh, without any offence done to him, drew ane long whinger, 
and gave him ane deepe and deidlie straike therewith in the wambe, to 
the great effusion of his blood and perill of his lyfe. The defender not 
appearing to answer the charge, is denounced rebel, and put to the 
horn. P. C. R. 

1632, May. John Pringle in Peebles accused of burning the New 
Testament at the waking of a corpse. P. JR. 

Three notable families in the county received an accession of 
dignity and importance in the reign of Charles I. Sir John 
Stewart of Traquair, after being raised to the peerage as Lord 
Stewart of Traquair in 1628, became Lord High Treasurer of 
Scotland, and in 1633, was created Earl of Traquair, Lord 
Linton, and Caberston. A few years later, Sir Gideon Murray, 
third son of Andrew Murray of Blackbarony, acquiring the 
property of Elibank in Selkirkshire, his son Patrick, who had 


been an eminent lawyer and statesman in the reign of James VI., 
was advanced to the peerage by the title of Lord Elibank in 
1643 in which Elibank branch, the Murrays of Blackbarony 
ultimately merged. The third family of honourable lineage 
which rose in dignity was that of the Hays, Lords Yester. John, 
the eighth lord, was created Earl of Tweeddale in 1646 dying 
in 1654, he was succeeded by his son John, who, as second earl, 
figured as an advocate of moderate measures through the most 

Fig. 25. Neidpath Castle, eastern aspect 

troublous period of Scottish history, was signalised as an improver, 
and in acknowledgment of his valuable services, was created 
Marquis of Tweeddale in 1694. As repeatedly mentioned, the 
Hays of Yester inhabited the castle of Neidpath, which had been 
enlarged and rendered a fitting baronial residence in the early 
part of the fifteenth century. At the accession of John, the eighth 
lord, to the earldom, this ancient fortalice had the imposing 
appearance which it retains in its present partially decayed 
condition, as represented in the annexed cut. 

Turning from the county to the burgh, we find that, at this 


period, tenacious of its rights of common, so valuable for the 
pasturing of cattle and the digging of peat for fuel, it became 
involved in a lengthened dispute with Scot of Hundleshope 
respecting a portion of land connected with Caidmuir. In the 
present day, a difference of this nature would be adjusted by a 
litigation before a competent court, but in the seventeenth 
century, neither bailies nor burgesses had sufficient temper and 
patience for so placid a procedure, and went straight to their 
purpose by force of arms and numbers. The incidents con- 
nected with the contest throw so much light on the irregular 
manners of the time, that we give them entire as they are 
reported in the books of the Privy Council. 

1635, July 14. John Scot of Hundleshope, and John and 
James Dickson, his servants, state that, although the bearing of 
hacquebuts and pistolets, and the convocation of the lieges in 
arms, be prohibited by law, 'on the i8th of June last the provost 
and bailies of Peebles, along with others their accomplices, to the 
number of fourscore persons, armed with swords, staves, and other 
weapons, and hacquebuts and pistolets, came to that part of the 
lands of Halyeards and Mylntoune thairof callit the Coupe Dyke, 
quhilk is ane proper part of the baronie of Hundilshop, per- 
taining heratablie to the said John Scot, and there they biggit 
ane house of 30 foote of lenthe, and howbeat the compleaner did 
legallie and civillie interrupt thame, yet they remained upon the 
lands three dayes and nights, and upon the thrid day of July 
instant, Thomas Patersone and David Plenderleith, baillies of 
Peebles, John Geddes, officer there, with others in maner fore- 
said, came to that part of the compleaners lands of Mylntoune 
called the Bordlandmure, where the said John and James 
Dicksone were casting divetts, drew their swords, and wounded 
James Dicksone in the hand to the effusion of his blood, and 
gave him divers straiks on other parts of his bodie.' P. C. R. 

Such was Scot's case, and it is a sufficiently strange one a 
clamorous and armed mob of fourscore persons, headed by the 
magistrates of Peebles, coming a distance of several miles to 
maintain some claim of property, building a small house, 


remaining on the spot three days, and finally assaulting Scot's 
servants to the effusion of their blood. Scot, however, failed to 
prove his charge of illegally carrying hagbuts and pistols, such 
being denied on oath by Williamson, the provost ; and the 
mere tumult does not appear to have been visited with punish- 
ment. The judge ordinary is to settle the matter in dispute, 
each party giving caution to keep the peace, ' the burgh of 
Peebles under the paine of thrie thousand merks, and John Scot 
and Mr William Burnet, son to John Burnet of Barns, either 
of thame ane thousand merks.' But the case did not end here. 
Immediately following, the burgh of Peebles brings forward a 
charge of rioting and assault per contra. 

The provost sets forth, ' that the burgh being heratablie infeft 
in the lands of Caidmuir, and in peaceable possession thairof, 
and having latelie biggit ane house of stane, nane having made 
interruption to them, yet it is of truth that upon the 2 1 day of 
June last, John Scot of Hundleshop assembled together the 
persons underwritten William Scot his brother naturall, 
William Scot his uncle, Mr William Burnet, sone to Barns, John 
Burnet, also his sone, John, Robert, Thomas, and James Dickson 
in Mylntoune, James Anderson there, Walter Yong there, 
James Notman, smith, Robert Ireland, James Burnet, son to 
Woodhouse, James Burnet in Boghouse, Andro Hunter in 
Manner, James Lawson, Malcolm Phillip, tailzdour, James 
Mattheson, John Watson, John Lowis, William Russell, and 
William Rankane, myller, with others, with jacks, steil bonnets, 
speares, lances, Jedwort staves, forks, swords, whingers, axes, 
picks, mattocks, gavelocks, and with hacquebuts and pistolets 
prohibit to be worne, came under cloud of night to the said 
hous, and there, with speares and lances, ran John Robin and 
Charles Cleg, the compleaners servants, to the ground with monie 
blae and blood ie straiks, and had not failed to take their lyves 
were it not by the helpe of some neichbours they were rescued ; 
and immediately thairafter clam to the heid of the hous, tirled 
[unroofed] and kust doune the same to the ground with their 
picks and mattocks, and cuttit and destroyed the haill timber 


with the doores and windowis, and left not sa much as ane stane 
standing, nor yet ane piece of timber of thrie foot length.' The 
parties concerned being present, the Lords decern as in the 
preceding case, assoilzing the defenders on their oath by consent 
of complainers ; each party to find security to the other, namely, 
the burgh of Peebles under a penalty of three thousand merks, 
and John Scot and Mr William Burnet each a thousand merks. 
P. C. R. 

1636, June 7. James Law, one of the keepers of His Majesty's signet, 
and heritable proprietor of the Temple-land of Kirkurd, complains that 
whereas he has been in peaceable possession 'until latelie, when Thomas 
Murray, his tenant, having entered on the building of ane hous in April 
last, Thomas Veitche in Lockhurd came to the compleaners saids lands, 
threatened the said tenant and Robert Broune, workman, who was 
bigging the hous, forced him to leive his worke, thairafter violentlie 
pulled doune the thacke and a great part of the timber and walls of the 
said hous ;' and came afterwards and demolished the house utterly, so 
that ' the poore tenente will be forced to ly in the fields.' The persons 
concerned being present, the Lords remit the matter ' anent the right 
of ground quhairupon the said house was built, to be pursewed before 
the judge ordinarie, and in the meantyme desired the parties to 
nominal eache some sufficient man ' to decide as to where the house 
may be built. Accordingly, the parties nominated Robert Tweedie in 
Bordland, and James Geddes of Rachan, to whom the Lords gave the 
requisite powers. P. C. R. 

In the list of commissioners from the shires who had signed 
the Confession of Faith and. Covenant of 1638, appears for 
' Peebles James Williamson, Provost,' the same who gallantly 
led the crusade against Hundleshope three years previously. 

In 1640, the Presbytery of Peebles had several cases of witch- 
craft under consideration. On one occasion, the members met 
at the kirk of Glenholm, for the purpose of trying witches ; 
Gilbert Robisone, Isabel Cuthbertson, Lillias Bertram, and Malie 
Macwatt, from the parish of Culter, were brought forward. 
Among other things asked, it was inquired if they had ever 
had any acquaintance with one Graham, a witch who had 
been burned at Peebles. The main charge against them seems 
to have been, telling people to take their children to a 


south-running stream to be cured when they were ill. Gilbert 
Robisone was believed to be a noted warlock, and there are 
frequent references to him. In April 1641, he is spoken of as 
being in ward, ' suspect of witchcraft ;' and the ministers of 
Broughton, Glenholm, and Drummelzier are appointed to see 
what is laid to his charge, and to intimate their intention of 
doing so from their pulpits. P. R. 

1642, Feb. 3. ' Mr Andrew Watson, vicar of Peebles,' complains to 
the Privy Council that, on a certain day of May last, James William- 
sone, younger, in Peebles, who had often vowed to 'tirle the said 
minister's hous above his head, came airlie in the morning before day- 
light to his said dwelling-hous, clam up to the top thereof, and with a 
graip kuist down a great part of the thack and divetts of the said hous ; 

and upon the day of Junii thairafter, he, understanding that the 

complainer was at St Andrews, came, with John Mure in Peebles, to the 
said hous and chamber, so that when the complainer returned, all the 
utensiles and plenishing of his hous were spoyled with rayne, and the 
hous made uninhabitable ; and afterwards, in October, they came under 
cloud and silence of night, entered the hous by a back-door, and having 
ascended the stair, rave up the daills of the floor, so that, but for the 
providence of God, the complainer had fallen doun betwix the head of 
the tumpyck and his chamber doore, and been killed, which was thair 
intention.' Watson not having brought any proof of his charge, the case 
is referred to ' the oath of veritie ' of Williamsone, who denies the whole 
affair. He is therefore acquitted along with Mure, who was but a minor; 
and as they had been kept waiting in Edinburgh for five days, Watson 
is ordered to pay to each of them ten merks. P. C. ft. 

In 1645, Scotland was visited by the plague, which, reaching 
Peeblesshire, caused much consternation, as is noticed from the 
kirk-session records such as 'no meeting of the congregation for 
fear of the pestilence.' While alarmed by the spread of this 
mysterious disorder, the country fell into a paroxysm of appre- 
hension on account of the victories gained in the royal cause by 
James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. In speaking of the people 
of Peeblesshire, Dr Pennecuik says : ' They are of so loyal and 
peaceable dispositions, that they have seldom or never appeared 
in arms against their lawful sovereign, nor were there amongst 

that great number twelve persons from Tweeddale at the 



insurrection of Rullion Green or Bothwell Bridge. Of their 
loyalty they gave sufficient testimony at the fight of Philip- 
haugh, where several of them were killed by David Leslie's 
army, and others, the most eminent of their gentry, taken 
prisoners.' This eulogium is scarcely borne out by facts ; to 
judge from the kirk-session records in the county, the cause 
for which Montrose was in arms was anything but popular. The 
explanation of the apparent discrepancy is, that while the lairds 
generally, with the militia, over whom they exercised control, 
adhered to royalty, the clergy and common people were on the 
side of the Covenant. 

Routed at Philiphaugh, September 13, 1645, the Marquis of 
Montrose fled on horseback across the high hill, Minchmoor, to 
Traquair, and so on to Peebles, whence he proceeded to rally fresh 
forces in the north. The conduct of the Earl of Traquair on this 
occasion has been justly matter of remark. He is alleged to 
have sent his son, Lord Linton, with a troop of horse, to join 
Montrose the day before the battle, but withdrew them during 
the night ; and also, that when Montrose in his flight, accom- 
panied by a few followers, arrived at Traquair House, and 
sent a friend to acquaint the earl and his son with his presence, 
both denied themselves a fact singularly illustrative of weak- 
ness of character. At least two of the Tweeddale gentry, in 
obedience to the kirk, performed penance for their royalist 

1646. George Tait of Pirn, and others, publicly satisfied on 
the stool of repentance for complying with the rebellion. 
K. S. R., Innerleithen. Dec. 27. The Laird of Hawkshaw did 
make his satisfaction for complying with James Graham. 
K. S. R., Tweedsmuir. On the final discomfiture of Montrose, 
every parish in the county seems to have expressed its thank- 
fulness. 1650, May 12. Thanksgiving for the victory gained by 
God's blessing over that excommunicated traitor, James Graham. 
K. S. R., Tweedsmuir. In the records of Drummelzier, Inner- 
leithen, and other parishes, there are similar intimations. 

No sooner was the country free from the terror of Montrose, 


than it fell into greater trouble on account of the invasion of 
Cromwell, and his victory over the ultra-Presbyterian forces 
at Dunbar, September 3, 1650. Two years before, under the 
injunctions of an act of parliament, ' for putting the kingdom in 
ane posture of defence,' a committee of war was named for 
Peeblesshire, embracing the whole gentry in the county ; but all 
efforts of this kind were unavailing. Lord Yester, son of the 
Earl of Tweeddale, fortified Neidpath Castle against a party of 
Cromwell's troops sent to capture it, and who, during their stay 
in Peebles, are said to have stabled their horses in the church 
of St Andrew. The forces of Lord Yester are understood to 
have held out with an extraordinary degree of energy and 
courage against their besiegers ; and but for the comparative 
weakness of the old peel assailable with cannon from the 
southern side of the river the castle might not perhaps have 
been rendered up so soon as it was. The name of the com- 
mander deputed by Cromwell to attack Neidpath is not 
mentioned in any contemporary letter or chronicle ; but we may 
presume with tolerable confidence that the capture was effected 
by Major-general Lambert, in the latter part of December 1650, 
as we learn that Cromwell at that time ordered him, with his 
party, consisting of 3000 horse, to march from Peebles to 
Lanarkshire, in order to meet the Independent west-country 
army of 5000 men under Colonel Ker, whom Lambert, on the 
1st of December, overthrew with great slaughter. There must, 
however, have been a party of English troops at Peebles after 
this date, as Cromwell, on the 2$th December, addresses a letter 
to ' Colonel Francis Hacker,' of which we present a copy. 1 

' For Col. FRANCIS HACKER, att Pebles or else where, Thiese 

SIR I have the best consideration I can for the praesent in this 
businesse, and although I believe Capt. Hubbert is a worthy man, and 
heere soe much, yett as the case stands, I cannott, with satisfaction to 
my selffe and some others, revoake the commission I had given to Capt 

1 From Ellis's Original Letters Illustrative of English History, second series, voL lii. 
p. 365 (MS. Lansd., Brit. Mus. 1236, art. 99, Grig.). 


Empson, without offence to them, and reflection upon my owne judge- 
ment. I pray lett Capt. Hubbert knowe I shall not bee unmindefull of 
him, and that noe disrespect is intended to him. But, indeed, I was not 
satisfied with your last speech to mee about Empson, that he was a better 
prsecher than a fighter or souldier, or words to that effect. Truly I 
thinke Hee that prayes and prseches best will fight best. I know nothing 
will give like courage and confidence as the knowledge of God in Christ 
will, and I blesse God to see any in this Armye able and willinge to 
impart the knowledge they have for the good of others. And I expect 
itt bee encouraged by all Chiefe Officers in this Armye especially : and I 
hope you will doe soe. I pray receave Capt. Empson lovinglye. I dare 
assure you hee is a good man and a good officer. I would wee had noe 
worse. I rest your lovinge friend, 

Dec. 25, 1650.' 

Capturing Neidpath, and taking possession of the ancient 
castle of Peebles, there was no other military operation to be 
effected in the county, for the gentry generally submitted, and 
apart from them as leaders, the people could have made no 
effective stand. That the Usurpation was not at the outset 
unaccompanied with some turmoil and panic, is seen from 
several kirk-session records. 

1650, Nov. IO. Because of the English putting garrisons in 
the country, there was no meeting in the kirk till the 2Qth 
December, all which time the minister was in a fleeing condition. 
1651, Feb. No session at this time, because the enemy were 
going up and down. Aug. 3. No sermon because the Scots 
army marching up Tweed had driven away most part of the 
sheep and the cattle, and the people were busied in following 
their goods, in giving meat to the soldiers, and in keeping their 
houses from strangers. K, S. R., Drummelzier. 

1651, March 23. No meeting this day for fear of the enemy. 
3<Dth. The collection this day to be given to a man for acting 
as a watch during the time of sermon. Aug. 3. No meeting, 
because of the marching of the enemy through the parochine. 
K. S. R., Tweedsmuir. The kirk-session of the parish of Inner- 
leithen becoming uneasy for the safety of some cash on hand, 
resorted to the ingenious device of lending it on bond until more 


peaceful times. The borrower was Alexander Hay, parson of 
Peebles, son and successor of Dr Theodore Hay. 

Except that the Presbyterians were not allowed to hold 
General Assemblies or to interfere in politics, they suffered no 
interruption in their church-polity during the Protectorate. 
Kirk-sessions continued their administration as usual, and we 
discover no other difference in their proceedings after the 
establishment of the Commonwealth, than that religious zeal 
was more intensified, and exercised with less scruple. That the 
church-discipline now carried to excess failed in its object, 
is conspicuous from almost every page of the parish records. 
Leaving out the more gross of the delinquencies which incurred 
censure or punishment, we offer the following specimens of 
offences, and the method of dealing with them, from the records 
of the parish of Innerleithen between 1641 and 1657. A man put 
to the pillar (or obliged to stand at the door of the church with 
his neck in an iron collar attached by a chain to the wall) for 
ricking corn on the Lord's day. Several parties cited for scolding 
and flyting, several for being drunk, and one man for casting down 
a dyke on the Sabbath. A disbursement of 4 Scots on account 
of a process of witchcraft. William Brunton for ' knocking beir' 
on the Sabbath, humbly acknowledges his guilt on his knees. John 
Tait, miller, stands on the stool of repentance for keeping his 
mill going on Sunday. Elders and deacons are appointed to 
visit people's houses on Sabbath, and report who are absent from 
church. The sinful custom of hiring servants in the churchyard 
after sermon severely denounced ; persons guilty to be punished. 
A number of people cited to appear before the session for 
amusing themselves on the green the previous Sabbath evening. 
Several women accused of gathering nuts on the Sabbath-day, 
and they make their satisfaction on the stool of repentance. A 
man is charged with having carried a load of meal on Sunday, 
and another commits the transgression of hounding his dog on 
his sheep ' mair throughly than ordinar ' on the Sabbath at 
Nether Horsburgh. Robert Murray complains that James Lees 
had slandered his wife by calling her a witch ; the case to go 


before the Presbytery. Several persons cited for having eaten 
dinner at John Frizzell's house in the time of the afternoon- 
service on Sunday. Having compeared, they said they were 
waiting upon a sick woman who could not go out. But the 
session discrediting this excuse, insisted that the fact of a dinner 
having been prepared looked very like the superstitious practice 
called a ' kirkin' feast,' and the parties were ordered to appear on 
the stool of repentance on their knees. Finally, two women are 
accused of having consulted a witch regarding the health of a 

From the book of the parish of Drummelzier, we learn that in 
1649 many persons could not read. The fact is elicited by an 
order being announced from the General Assembly enjoining 
family worship, when some declared they could not read, and 
had no one in their families who could do so. Those who were 
so ignorant were ordered to send their children to school. But 
even with a knowledge of letters, there was the prevalent belief 
in witchcraft. Under date 1652, July 28, we find in the records 
of this parish : ' Paid to Mr Andrew Watson, vicar of Peebles, 
.3 Scots as part payment of 100 merks due by the Presbytery 
for burning witches.' Two years previously, 1650, June 9, the 
kirk-session of Newlands refused to pay the sum asked by the 
magistrates of Peebles for watching witches in the prison there, 
the reason alleged being that there were 'only four witches in the 
prison, and little watching needed.' 

Another peculiarity of the time was the keeping of fast-days, 
which were ordered for the most trifling reasons. This, however, 
continued to be a feature of the Scottish ecclesiastical polity 
until a comparatively recent period. An old minister having 
occasion to find fault with the conduct of his son, who was 
appointed his assistant and successor, intimated a fast in the 
following terms : ' A day of solemn fasting, my frien's, for yere 
ain sins, for my sins, and for our Jock's sins.' 

It is deserving of notice that in none of the records, from the 
latter part of the reign of Charles I. until the Restoration, is 
there any notice of public or private amusements, unless for the 


purpose of denouncing them as sinful. The dancing of men and 
women together is particularly condemned. A complaint comes 
before the Presbytery in 1650, ' respecting promiscuous dancing 
of men and women together, especially at marriages, and it is 
ordained that those who are guilty of this offence shall give 
public satisfaction, according to acts of General Assembly' 
(P. R.) ; the result being, that the people were driven to seek 
clandestine indulgences, which leave a woful evidence in all the 
documents we have consulted. 

According to several parish records, the kirk-sessions waged a 
long and unsuccessful war against the ancient practice of 
gossiping in the churchyard before and after divine service on 
Sundays. Perhaps the custom generally was not, as in Inner- 
leithen, carried the length of hiring servants on these occasions, 
but there was everywhere a cherished practice of chatting 
subduedly about ordinary and family affairs near the kirk-door, 
or while loitering in the sunshine among the gravestones between 
the forenoon and afternoon services. As the poor people who 
sought this recreation probably lived miles apart, and had little 
opportunity of meeting on week-days, the sin of speaking to 
each other in the churchyard on Sundays might have been 
viewed with some degree of indulgence ; but any such tempor- 
ising was contrary to the relentless ecclesiastical discipline of the 
period. In the parish of Newlands, in particular, the kirk-session 
issued frequent warnings on the subject of this heinous offence, 
without effect. Humouring their minister in most things, the 
parishioners could by no threats of censure be brought to abstain 
from conversing in the churchyard on Sundays. A young man is 
said to have audaciously declared, that 'he wadna gie the crack in 
the kirkyard for twa days' preachin' ' a declaration that reminds 
us of the rustic hero lamented in Mayne's version of the song, 
Logan Water. 

1 Nae mair at Logan kirk will he, 
Atween the preachin's, meet wi' me 
Meet wi' me, and when it 's mirk, 
Convoy me hame frae Logan kirk. ' 

After a long interval, for which the volumes are missing, the 


burgh records of Peebles are resumed on the I2th of July 1650, 
and the first entry worth specifying is one respecting the famous 
Mirk or Dark Monday, as registered by Thomas Smyth, town- 
clerk. 1 

' Upon Monday, the 2gth of March 1652, the sun eclipsed from eight 
hours to half-hour to eleven, or thereby, before noon, the sun eclipsed 
eleven digits ; the darkness continued about eight minutes. The people 
all began to pray to God. A little hereafter was seen upon the south 
side of the firmament a clear perfect star. Some affirmed they saw two, 
but I one only.' Smyth adds a sentence in Latin, which may be thus 
translated : ' And because this has been rare and wonderful, therefore I 
judged it worthy to put it on record.' 

Although the country was at this time in an agony of transi- 
tion from the monarchy to the Protectorate, the burgh books 
embrace nothing respecting public affairs, and we only learn 
incidentally that troops were stationed in the town. The greater 
number of entries in the record refer to assaults, and the fines 
which were imposed in consequence. We select the following in 
illustration of public manners between 1652 and 1658. 

1652, Aug. 14. Ordains ane watch to be kept nightly for restraining 
the stealing of corn in time of harvest. Andrew Haldane, miller, to be 
imprisoned in the steeple for disobedience to an act of Council. Inflicts 
upon Catherine Porteous, for riot upon Nanse Smaille, a fine of ten pounds 
Scots. 1653, Jan. 10. Thomas Murdo, guilty of riot done upon John 
Plenderleith, bailie, to be fined ten pounds Scots, and banished from the 
town. John Mitchell and William Jackson, herds in Glenrath, found 
guilty of blood and riot on each other ; Mitchell to be fined twelve 
pounds, and Jackson five pounds, Scots. Feb. 7. Ordains William 
Jenkison and Christian Pulson to pay to the treasurer, for riot committed 
on each other, forty shillings Scots each, or to remain in ward. Thomas 
Moses, waulker [cloth-fuller], fined ten pounds Scots for riot and keeping 
ane dog for biting. The Council remits the riot committed by Thomas 
Williamson, writer, upon James Anderson, on condition he shall carry 
himself more civilly in time coming, wherein, if he fail, this to be charged 
against him. Inflicts upon George Thomson, for riot committed by 
him in removing a plough off the lands of Alexander Brotherstanes, 

1 The part where the entry occurs being greatly damaged and scarcely legible, we 
have preferred adopting a copy which had been taken by John M 'Ewen, town-clerk, 
and inserted in the Scots Magazine, vol. xxxix. p. 251 ; May 1777. 


threttie shillings Scots. March 14. Andrew Turnbull, baxter, and John 
Dickson, to be incarcerated twenty-four hours for riot. Discharges all 
burgesses to set houses to vagabonds or incomers, and no beggars to be 
lodged more than ane nicht, under pains specified in acts of parliament 
March 21. Thomas Moses, waulker, found guilty of having stated 
falsely in face of the Council, that Robert Steill, wabster, stole six 
pounds of his yairn, is to pay a fine of twelve pounds Scots to the 
treasurer, then to be incarcerated in the steeple until the morrow at 
eleven hours, at which time the bailies to set him on the market-cross 
with ane paper on his head, bearing these words : ' Here stand I, 
Thomas Moses, for calumniating Robert Steill, in calling him ane thief, 
wherein I have failed,' for the space of two hours ; thereafter he shall sit 
down upon his knees, confess his fault, and crave mercy of the party 
offended ; lastly, to be taken to prison, and remain therein till he pay 
the first sum, and all other fines imposed on him. Euphan Pringle, 
spouse to Patrick Dickson, accused of committing riot upon Janet 
Dickson and Mat Leadbetter on the Lord's day, within the church of 
Peebles ; grants pushing over Janet Dickson, and dunching her upon the 
neck, and comes in will therefor, but denies doing any wrong to Mat 
Leadbetter ; witnesses to be summoned. March 28. John Hay, fiar of 
Smithfield, accused of riot, committed by him upon Bessie Robison, 
servitrix to Sir James Hay of Smithfield ; grants striking her with his foot, 
and comes in will ; therefore the Council inflicts on him a fine of three 
pounds, to be paid to the treasurer. April 4. William Hay, second 
lawful son of Sir James Hay of Smithfield, accused of riot committed by 
him upon John Brisbane, merchant burgess, in striking him with ane 
baton in presence of William Lowes, provost ; he grants and comes in 
will ; the Council therefore fine him twenty merks. At the same time, 
Brisbane is found guilty of using outrageous words towards William Hay, 
in calling him ane base knave in face of the Council, and he is to find 
caution to keep the peace. William Wichtman grants striking Robert 
Porteous on the breast, and is fined threttie shillings. Susanna Twedaill, 
servitrix to Thomas Moses, grants casting stones at the magistrates when 
they were executing their office upon her master, and she is to pay ten 
merks Scots. May 25. James Brotherstanes and his spouse fined ten 
merks for riot in drawing of ane knife in presence of the provost 
June 27. Alexander Lauder, dean of guild, accused of riot committed 
on Andrew Ellmond, traveller ; case postponed. July 20. Several 
female dealers convicted of selling victuals with ane unjust caup. 
July 29. Thomas Williamson and others convicted of riot, and fined. 
Aug. 5. Ordains that the parents of children who destroy and eat pease, 
or break into fruit-yards and plantings, shall pay a fine of five pounds 
Scots. Aug. 19. James Byres, senator to John Frank, also Bessie 


Hislop, convicted and fined for riot. Dec. 16. Inflicts upon John 
Frank, treasurer, for riot committed upon James Haldane, a fine of five 
pounds Scots. Inflicts upon William Porteous, for blood and riot, a fine 
of six pounds Scots. Dec. 30. John Buchanan found guilty of baking 
wheat-bread less than the legal weight, and of menacing the treasurer 
when he was challenged ; fined forty shillings Scots. John Murray, 
wabster, for riot committed on Nanse Wilson, a fine of threttie shillings 
Scots. 1654, March 17. James Broth erstanes convicted of blood and 
riot, to pay four pounds Scots. April 7. Walter Stewart, burgess, 
fined for riot, ten pounds Scots. April 14. Another baxter accused of 
baking and selling bread of light weight ; fined fifty shillings. April 28. 
Alexander Anderson, wabster, for abusing and railing upon Alexander 
Williamson, bailie, is fined forty shillings Scots. Patrick Dickson, 
merchant, comes in will for abusing the magistrates ; fined forty shillings 
Scots. William Porteous, for calumniating the twa bailies, the same 
fine. May 5. James Brotherstanes, younger, guilty of drawing a knife 
to the provost, and of blaspheming and cursing, comes in the Council's 
will ; case postponed. William Burnet accused of the like offence ; fine 
threttie shillings Scots. Aug. 18. Alexander Williamson, bailie, confesses 
riot, and comes in will. Oct. 27. Inflicts upon John Hay, servitor to 
Lady Smithfield, a fine of ten merks for riot. Marjory Buchan, servitrix 
to Bessie Veitch, found guilty of riot committed upon a soldier in 
Captain Hatchman's company ; fined twenty merks. Dec. 18. Thomas 
Govan, litster, for riot committed upon his servant, a fine of ten merks. 
Ordains Gilbert Mitchell, for theft, to stand with ane paper on his 
head, at the cross, for the space of ane hour, and thereafter to be 
scourged from the cross to the West Port. 1655, Jan. 15. John Frank, 
treasurer, again fined for riot. Jan. 28. Inflicts upon Sir John Hay, for 
riot, a fine of twenty merks. Feb. 12. Andrew Forrest, for riot upon 
George Horsburgh, is fined forty shillings. Feb. 19. Bessie Mitchell 
and Marion Frissell to stand at the cross with a paper on their heads, 
and then banished, for reset of theft. Feb. 26. Mathew Banks, for 
blood and riot, fined ten merks. April 30. Sir John Hay, for blood and 
riot committed upon James Murray, to pay a fine of twenty pounds 
Scots. Murray, for drawing of ane whinger on Sir John, to pay the 
same. May 7. Alexander Tweedie of Kingledoors, for riot and troubling 
the fair on Beltane-day, fined twenty pounds Scots. Sept. 29. Sir John 
Hay, for blood and riot upon John Brunton, to pay a fine of twenty 
pounds Scots ; and to give his band for this and his former riots. 
Oct 15. Ane band of tnreescore pounds granted to the town by Sir 
John Hay for his riots. 1656, March 24. Thomas Williamson, John 
Horsburgh, and others fined for not. Aug. 4. Lawburrows against the 
inhabitants of the town, holding them in penalties should they molest 


the Laird of Blackbarony, his family, or servants. [This points to some 
quarrel about the common of Glentress.] 1657, April 6. A number of 
persons convicted of blood and riot, and fined accordingly. Sept. 16. 
Andrew Anderson, wabster, and Patrick Edgar, to be put in prison for 
disobedience to the commands of the magistrates. 1658, March 2. 
John Stoddart and William Porteous convicted of riot, are fined each 
three pounds Scots. Nov. 15. Enactment as to method of levying and 
apportioning fines for riot. 

Such is a view of the state of society in a small country town 
in Scotland at a period ordinarily referred to as remarkable 
for its religious excellence. To enliven the picture, we have 
diverting ordinances concerning the regulation of prices, the 
exclusion of strangers and unfreemen from the burgh, and other 
matters. The following are a few specimens of this species of 
legislation, extending to 1676. 

1652, Sept. 15. The Provost, Bailies, and Council ordain all 
merchants, sellers of candles in the burgh, to sell the pound-weight at 
' sax shillings and aucht pence, and the price of ilk candle to be five 
pennies, being fifteen candles to the pund ; above fifteen candles in the 
pund, the single candle to be four pennies Scots. And this in respect 
that candles are sold in Edinburgh at five shillings the pund.' 1653, 
April 25. The magistrates ordain that four shillings Scots shall be the 
day's wage for a man casting divots. Item, A day's work of a horse in 
ploughing, harrowing, or loading, to be sax shillings and aucht pence. 
And whoever exacts more than these allowances, to pay for the first 
fault, twenty shillings ; the second, forty shillings ; and the third, loss of 
freedom. The Council declares James Steventoun in Haystoun to be 
only ane causeway burgess until he find caution to scot, lot, watch, and 
ward as other burgesses. Nov. 4. Ordains all the ale to be sold for 
saxteen pennies the pint [one penny-farthing sterling for two quarts], 
after Tuesday next. Item, Ordains the baxters and sellers of wheat 
bread to make loaves of one pound-weight for twelve pennies [one penny 
sterling] the piece ; ilk person contravening, to pay five pounds Scots. 
1654, May 26. Ordains the ale to be sold, after this day, at twelve 
pennies the pint, under a penalty of five pounds Scots. 1655, Oct 15. 
Ordains the multure malt to be sold at seven pounds the boll. 1657, 
Nov. 2. Inflicts a fine of forty shillings on John Hay, tailor, for usurping 
the liberty of ane burgess, and working within the town. 1658, Nov. 15. 
The Council, referring to former acts on the subject, ordains that all 
male children shall attend the public school, and all women who keep 


schools in the burgh are prohibited from taking any male child, under 
the pain of twenty shillings Scots for ilk male child they shall receive. 
1662, Aug. n. Ordains the daily wages of men-shearers to be four 
shillings Scots, and ilk woman-shearer forty pennies Scots. 1664, 
June 27. The Council licenses Alexander Borthwick, wright, upon 
sufficient testimonial of his life and conversation, to come to this burgh, 
and follow his calling, but at the Council's pleasure. Sept. 26. Ordains 
eggs to be sold at sixteen pennies the dozen, under pain of forty 
shillings 1670, Sept. 20. Ordains John Turnbull, baxter, to bake 
to all persons within burgh that employ him, five firlots of flour for 
twenty-four shillings Scots, and threttie pennies to his boy for wetting 
and kneading thereof ; but if the owner wet and knead it, to be free of 
the threttie pennies. And likewise ordains Turnbull and all others that 
sell flour, to sell it, in time coming, at the same price at which they buy 
the wheat, in respect they have the owercome of the wheat, and round 
thereof, for their pains and profit ; whereto he assents. 1673, Aug. 3. 
The same baxter, for buying ground malt from the country in prejudice 
of the town-mills, is fined threttie shillings Scots. 1674, May 4. Ordains 
that no yarn shall be sold in clues, but in hanks ; all clues offered for 
sale to be confiscated. Dec. 7. The cordiners are to take no more for 
single-soled work than eight pennies, and for double-soled work, twelve 
pennies. 1676, June 5. All meal and butter sold in the town to be 
first offered in open market, or if sold otherwise, to be confiscated. 

At this period the town books are full of entries respecting 
assessments, and also the excise, which was a novel and by no 
means popular kind of taxation in Scotland. The plan pursued 
in levying imposts consisted in exacting a certain sum from each 
county or town, the authorities in which were left to devise 
methods of raising the requisite amount. Peebles appears to 
have taken so very ill to these exactions, that the council did not 
think it unfair to employ a little manoeuvring and bribery in 
order to screw down the amount exigible witness the two 
following candid entries in the record of proceedings. 1653, 
Nov. 4. The Council appoint Robert Thomson to ride into 
Dalkeith on Monday next, to present the town's supplication 
anent the assessment, and allows him to give the secretary two 
rix-dollars. 1657, Jan. 16. John Govan to go to Leith to 
arrange respecting the excise, and to offer two shillings if he can 
carry it. B. R. We are not told what was the amount of excise 


levied from Peebles at this time, but in 1668, it was agreed that 
the sum should be 'ane hundred and ten merks monthly.' 
Whatever was the amount, there was only one way of raising it 
from the inhabitants. The Council appointed ' quarter-masters/ 
who were authorised ' to break the cess,' or apportion it on 
families within their respective districts. The grievance arising 
from Cromwell's excise was probably aggravated by the presence 
of his soldiers. The conduct of the English army in Scotland 
has been generally commended, but, according to the kirk- 
session records, they caused some trouble in Peeblesshire ; as 
for example, ' No convening of the congregation, by bands ot 
English who were corned into the parish for the purpose of 
plundering.' K. S. R., Newlands, 1651. The garrison in Peebles 
does not seem to have been exempt from the blame of leaving 
householders and dealers to mourn over bad debts. Under date, 
December 16, 1653, it is ordained that in the case of ' loss by the 
soldiers quartered in the town, the landlords and other creditors 
are to bear it equally, according to their furnishing abilities, in 
reckoning with the contributors.' B. R. In 1654, the Presbytery 
could not proceed to business, ' in regard of the Inglish in the 
town,' from which statement alone it may be inferred that some 
trouble arose from the military occupation of the burgh. 

At this period, 1654, while Monk was in Scotland, a number 
of irregular parties of natives went about armed in the southern 
counties, doing all they could to disturb the English in possession 
of the country. The Earl of Traquair, and sundry gentlemen 
of the county of Tweeddale, met at Peebles in force, to devise 
measures for repressing these violences. ' The Scots being 
acquainted with the meeting, fell out upon them, seized upon 
the Earl of Traquair and rest of these gentlemen, took frae 
them their horses, saddles, clothes, and riding-buits, and forcit 
them to desert the meetings. They passed also to Lanark, 
where they remained sundry days, and proclaimed the fair 
of Lanark to be held, with great solemnity, in King Charles's 
name, without danger to their persons.' l These, it may be 

1 Nichol's Diary of Transactions in Scotland, p. 130. 


remarked, were the first persons to whom the name Tories was 
given in Scotland, the word having been originally applied to 
similar guerrilla troopers in Ireland. Outrages such as that just 
mentioned necessarily caused the maintenance of English 
regiments in Peebles. 

From sundry notices in the town books, it is learned that, in 
past times, works of various kinds, such as making pieces of 
road and building bridges, were executed by compulsory contri- 
butions of labour under magisterial authority. Already, it has 
been seen that the bridge across the Tweed at Peebles was, to a 
material extent, constructed under this species of obligation. In 
1653, several cases occur. June 27. Upon the humble desire 
of Patrick Scott of Thirlstane, to have ane brig across the 
Yarrow, the magistrates of Peebles ordain that all in the town 
who have horses, shall send the same for a day to carry lime for 
the said brig, under a penalty of forty shillings. July 8. For 
building ane stone brig across the mill-dam to the malt-mill of 
Peebles, ilk burgess shall lay twa loads of stones under penalty 
of twelve shillings. Nov. 4. All who have horses, to send the 
same on Monday next for loading stones to big ane barn ; ilk 
horse six loads. Dec. 2. It is enacted that, on occasions of 
carrying baggage of soldiers or posts, that ilk burgess having 
horses shall tour about, beginning for the first at the north-west 
yett. 1657, July 20. The magistrates and Council taking into 
consideration the petition of the parishioners of Linton, craving 
assistance for repairing the Bridge-house bridge, vote for the 
purpose twenty-four pounds Scots money, to be paid by the 
treasurer. 1661, June 17. The Council ordain that all able 
horses in the town shall carry in sklaitts from Stobo to the house 
of Craigmillar, belonging to Sir John Gilmore, President of the 
Session ; ilk person contravening under the pain of five pounds 
Scots. [Rather hard this last civic ordinance, impressing horses 
to carry slates a distance of thirty miles, in order to serve a 
person with whom the burgh had no concern.] 

The Council did not confine itself to enforcing labour for 
public or private works. On the 2Qth of September 1654, it 


ordained, ' that all who give houses to young women able for 
service, shall remove them betwixt and Martinmas, under a 
penalty of five pounds Scots.' It is further ordained, that all 
such women shall go to service, under pain of banishment. 
Lastly, persons are appointed to visit different quarters of the 
town in search of women fit for service. Despotic as were these 
measures, the burgh authorities acted only according to law, and 
were rivalled in vigilance by the justices of peace for the county, 
to whose proceedings we may for a moment draw attention. 

The Justice of Peace Records of the county commence in 
1656, at which time Sir Archibald Murray of Blackbarony was 
high-sheriff. The earliest volume comprehends a set of distinct 
instructions from the Council of the Protector, regarding the 
searching out and punishment of offences ; to aid them in which 
duty, the justices are to appoint constables for districts, who 
shall, from time to time, report on every sort of transgression 
within their respective bounds. This arrangement was, in effect, 
taking the punishment of a variety of offences out of the hands of 
the sheriffs ; but as these had never been renowned for keeping the 
peace themselves, or in causing it to be kept by others, the new 
authority communicated to the justices was so far an improve- 
ment on old usages. The only thing to be spoken of, not 
without a feeling of detestation, was the inquisitorial character of 
the bench of justices as now organised under instructions from 
head-quarters. Not satisfied with repressing theft, riot, and 
other crimes, the justices, at their periodical meetings, received 
communications respecting the private conduct of individuals ; so 
that, between the kirk-sessions on the one hand, and this civil 
tribunal on the other, the whole population of the sheriffdom 
lived under a constant and minute supervision. To judge from 
the records before us, including those of the burgh, the justices 
of peace, the presbytery, and the kirk-sessions, the inquisition into 
domestic concerns and personal deportment was universal and 
terrific, though we can fancy not more so than the grovelling hypo- 
crisy which such a system of espionage was calculated to produce. 

In looking through the burgh and county records, the more 


amusing details which reward the trouble of investigation are 
those which relate to the settlement of rates of wages of men and 
women servants. In this department of business, the justices of 
peace for the county found the keen scent of the constables to be 
particularly efficacious. 

1656, April i. The following rates of servants' fees are ordered by the 
justices : To ane able man-servant who is to be ploughman, [living] 
within house, able to cut garse, divots, or peats, or work any sort of 
husband labour, eight pounds Scots of money, a pair of single-soled 
shoone, and six quarters of grey [cloth], or the worth of fourty shillings 
Scots for his shoone, and grey at his own option, every half-year. To a 
second servant for husband labour, who is not able for the employment 
above mentioned, but for other worke, eight merks Scots money, six 
quarters of grey, and a pair of single-soled shoone each half-year. To 
a boy or lad able to keep cattle, four merks Scots, ane ell of grey, and a 
pair of single-soled shoone each half-year. To ane able woman-servant 
who is able for milking cows, barn, and byre, and all sort of household 
worke, for the summer half-year, fourty shillings Scots of money, three 
quarters of wool, or fifty shillings money and half a stone of wool, and a 
pair of single-soled shoone. To a second woman-servant or a lasse, two 
shillings sterling of money, six pounds of wool, and a pair of single-soled 
shoone for the summer half-yeare. -J. P. R. 

Several meetings of the justices ensue, in relation to these 
and other rates of wages, at one of which, May 5, 1657, it is 
ordained, ' that all employers shall testify on oath what fees they 
have conditioned for to their servants ; and whatsoever is 
conditioned more than the said act allows, the surplus shall by 
the masters be presently payed into the collector of the fynes of 
court, and they to have retention of the same from the servants, 
if the fee be not payed ; but if the same be payed, then the 
servant himself to be imprisoned till he pay the same to the 
collector foresaid. 

'At this meeting, the justices considering their former rates 
for best sort of women-servants to be too low, they therefore 
allow the best sort of women-servants twentie merks, or the 
value thereof, in fee and bountiths, yearlie. It being found that 
Robert Hunter of Polmood has payed in excess of servants' fees 
thirty-two shillings, he is ordered to pay the amount presently ; 


and John Hay of Haystoun, the preset, payed it for him by way 
of loan. James Hunter in Stanhope had payed in excess four 
pounds ten shillings Scots, whilk he presently payed. James 
Richarsone, servant, examined on oath ; finds he got a merk 
more than the rates for harvest. 

'Robert Hunter of Polmood being called, declares, he gives 
James Bredan three soumes and a half smeired, and two pair 
of shoone yearly ; John Wilson, ploughman, ten lib. [Scots] in 
the half-year, and a pair of shoone ; James Vallance, two soume 
and a half, and two pair of shoone a year. Thomas Hunter, a 
second servant, one soume and nyne lib., half a merk a year, with 
two pair of shoone. To Marion Tweedy, a stone of wool and 
fyftie shillings the half-year ; Elizabeth Lopeley, ten merks and 
a pair of shoone the half-year. Find that John Wilson's 
shoone are above the rate, and therefore Polmood is to pay him 
a shilling, according to the act. Item, For Marion Tweedy, los. 
Item, For Elizabeth Lopeley, icxr. Marion Chisholme, refusing 
to declare anent her servants, is ordered to go to prison. 

'James Hunter in Stanhope, judicially sworn anent his 
servants' fees, declares that John Hunter's feeing was ordinarily 
three soume and three pair of shoone, but for this year he refused 
to put himself in the said James' will because of the acts. John 
Frisel so likewise. Rt. Mitchell's fee 19 lib. and two pair of 
shoone, and half a boll aits sowing. John Jameson as the first two, 
and the soumes to be full and smeired. He declares they have 
the three soums presently plenished, and ther shoone are given 
them. The justices find the three pair of shoone to each of the 
three servants above the rates of feeing, and ordains James 
Hunter to pay for them, three pair for each of them at icxr. the 
pair, whilk amounts to 4 lib. ten shillings Scots, and if he pay 
not betwixt and this eight days, orders it to be doubled. It is 
presently payed. 

1 Alexander Harper, examined for Wm. Veitch, ane harvest- 
man, declares he gave him 7 lib., one firlot of beir, and a turse of 
hay out of good will. He gave to Thomas Ritchesone ten 

merks, a firlot of aits, and land to sow them on, and ane pair of 



shoone for half a year. Ordains Alexander Harper to pay a 
merk. James Richesone called, declares, he got 8 lib. for the 
harvest, whilk is found to be above the acts by thirteen shillings 
four pennies. James Simson, sworn, declares, he gave James 
Porteous for harvest 8 lib. ; to William Harper, twentie pounds, 
two pair of shoone, six quarters of grey, a furlet of aits, 
and land for sowing, five lambs' grass, and a shirt ; for whilk 
James Porteous is ordered to pay a merk, and James Simson for 
William Harper, six pounds Scots.' jf. P. R. 

From the foregoing, it is observed that the wages and allow- 
ances to servants were placed under a strict system of regulation 
in the seventeenth century, and that any excess of wage over the 
sum permitted by the justices was recoverable in the form of 
fine the whole circumstances narrated affording a curious 
insight into the social arrangements of these times. The 
extracts given are valuable as shewing what were the usual 
wages paid to farm-servants in 1657. Twenty merks, or 2is. 8d. 
sterling, were allowed to be paid to women per annum. For a 
man-servant, three soumes 1 were allowed ; and the payment to a 
man for harvest- work was 13^. ^\d. sterling. We further learn 
that the price of a pair of shoes was los. Scots, or lod. sterling. 

Succumbing to the firm rule of Cromwell, the Peeblesshire 
lairds, as a body, escaped the heavy fines laid on those who 
rendered themselves obnoxious to government at this trying 
period. Two persons, however, suffered severely for their 
adhesion to the cause of falling royalty John, first Earl of 
Traquair, whose reverses of fortune between 1645 and 1650 
will afterwards need to be told ; and Sir William Murray 
of Stanhope, who, by act of parliament April 12, 1654, was 
fined in the heavy sum of ^2000 sterling. Traquair was the 
less fortunate of the two, for he died in poverty in 1659 ; 
whereas Murray lived to see Charles II. resume the throne, 
and to be rewarded with a baronetcy. Perhaps the pro- 
prietors in the county generally thought they suffered enough, 

1 A soume of grass was as much as will pasture one cow or five sheep. Acts 
James VI. 


when, in common with their neighbours, they were subjected to 
the heavy assessments imposed by Cromwell on the country. 
For purposes of taxation, the county valuation-roll of 1556 was 
now set aside as antiquated, and commissioners being appointed 
to make a new and correct valuation of property, they issued 
their award in 1657. Until a recent date, this ' Roll of the free 
Rent of the Lands and Teinds within the Shire of Tweeddale,' 
was the basis of assessment. Interesting as is this document, in 
shewing the rentals of property at the middle of the seventeenth 
century, its details are too cumbrous to be given in these pages. 
We content ourselves with stating that the entire annual rental 
of Peeblesshire, in 1657, amounted in sterling money to 4327, 
3-r. lO^d. a fact illustrative of the still backward condition in all 
departments of rural affairs. 

While everything was in a state of comparative rudeness in 
the county the lairds with all their decorous obedience smarting 
under the humiliations of 1650 ; the kirk-sessions prosecuting 
cases of witchcraft and Sabbath-breaking ; the people, high and 
low, assaulting each other on the slightest provocation ; the 
magistracy in town and country vainly attempting to regulate 
trade and the wages of labour while such was the imperfection 
of mechanism that stone, lime, fuel, and other heavy articles 
were carried on the backs of horses, and such the social disorder, 
that the country was overrun by sorners and gipsies, with no 
present hope of amendment while in farming there were no 
green crops or artificial grasses for winter-fodder, and famines 
were of frequent recurrence we say, while things were in this 
dreary rudimentary state, there was in process of preparation in 
Holland, under high artistic appliances, and favoured by the 
Dutch government, the first map and regular description of 
Peeblesshire. Of this literary curiosity, we may give some 

About the year 1608, there might have been seen wandering 
over the country from the borders to John O'Groat's, an enthu- 
siastic Scotsman, animated with a consuming desire to make a 
survey of the several counties. The name of this eager explorer, 


who visited Peeblesshire in the course of his perambulations, was 
Timothy Pont, son of a senator of the College of Justice, and 
who seems to have abandoned the profession of a minister of the 
Scottish Church in order to devote himself to topographic 
pursuits. Pont, we may suppose, spared no pains, competent 
with his skill, to lay down accurate maps of the Scottish counties. 
Unfortunately, he did not live to complete his meritorious under- 
taking. After his decease, his papers would have been consigned 
to destruction, but for the patriotic and literary zeal of Sir John 
Scott of Scottstarvit, who prevailed on Sir Robert Gordon of 
Straloch to revise and correct the surveys left by Pont ; and on 
the death of Sir Robert, the work of revision was continued by 
his son. Still further to perfect the undertaking, Scott endea- 
voured to procure accounts of the parishes from their respective 
ministers ; thus foreshadowing the efforts of Sir John Sinclair, a 
century and a half later. Apparently determined to do justice 
to Font's valuable labours, and influenced also with a wish to 
live in retirement during the Usurpation, Sir John Scott pro- 
ceeded to Holland, and secured the issue of the Scottish county 
maps in the great work of Blaew, 1 who, in his preface to the 
fifth volume, gratefully acknowledges his obligations to the 
' Sieur Scot Tarvatius,' not only for correcting the maps, but for 
furnishing the letterpress descriptions which accompany them. 

Here, then, oddly enough, issued by a bookseller of Amsterdam, 
we have the first map of Tweeddale, and also the earliest regular 
description of the county, extending to two folio pages, double 
columns. Map and description are alike interesting, the map in 
particular, for, though purporting to be dated 1654, it is corrected 
from the survey of Pont in 1608, and, as such, affords us a fair 
idea of the localities in the county in the reign of James VI. As 
seen at a glance, it is far from accurate as regards boundaries. 
Portions of the shire on the west and north are assigned to 

1 La Thi&tre du Monde, ou Nouvcl Atlas de Jean Blaev ; Amsteldami, MDCLIV. 
The work is in five volumes folio, and consists of coloured maps, interleaved with 
descriptions in the French language ; the concluding volume being devoted to Scotland 
and Ireland. The beauty, the gigantic dimensions, and doubtless the costliness of this 
remarkable work, constitute a singular bibliographic curiosity. 

MAP OF PEEBLES-SHIRE.copieioiiareduced scale fromBLAEV'S 

W.& H.i'HAMBEHS, | 

FLAS, 1654, skewing rlic mm.u- as suiwvc<l k TIMOTHY FOOT. KJ08. 


Clydesdale, which is clearly a blunder, for places within these 
extended portions are included in the description. The southern 
boundary is equally erroneous. With the names of places, great 
havoc is made ; but this, like other errors, is probably not so 
much due to Pont or the learned ' Tarvatius,' as to the defective 
knowledge of the foreign artists. With all its imperfections, this 
map is so full of interest, that we adjoin a copy on a reduced 

In the description given of Peeblesshire by Blaew, we have 
some unexpected details ; being, for example, told that, in the 
lower part of the county, in the neighbourhood of Selkirkshire, 1 
the sheep find the pasturage so good and wholesome, they live 
to be fifteen years old before they die of any malady a fact not 
easily reconcilable with the ordinary purposes of the store- 

It has been sometimes represented on the faith of popular 
tradition, that the lairds in Peeblesshire fled during the iron 
rule of Cromwell ; but however distasteful it may have been for 
them to bear allegiance to, and act in any official capacity 
for, ' His Hieness, the Lord Protector,' it is evident from local 
records that they continued to reside in the sheriffdom, and 
perform all the public duties usually imposed on the county 
gentry. In the minute-books of the Justices of Peace, we 
observe no difference in the names of those who sat on the 
bench during or after the Usurpation the apprehension of 
forfeiture, no doubt, having a salutary effect in disposing all 
concerned to give at least the semblance of cordiality to a state 
of things which was probably repugnant to private feeling. At 
this period, the position of the Traquair family was so singular 
as to deserve a passing notice. By John, the first earl, while 
enjoying prosperity as Lord High Treasurer, the family posses- 
sions were considerably extended, Traquair House was enlarged, 

1 ' Dans les lieux le plus bas de la Province, particuli&rement en ceux qui sont voisins 
de Selkirk, le brebis y trouvent le pasturage si bon et si salutaire par dessus celui de 
touts les autres pays, qu'elles vivent jusques 4 quinze ans, avant qu'elles meurent d'eux 
mesmes par maladie.' Blaew. 


and the grounds 
which they now 
fortune, followed 
the proceedings 
Traquair gave 
assigns him the 
cipled trimmer, 
conduct whether 

about it ornamented in the formal style in 
appear. This was but a transient gleam of 

by very dismal reverses. Mixed up with 
of the court to introduce the service-book, 
satisfaction to neither party, and history 
unenviable character of a weak and unprin- 

It is, indeed, impossible to say from his 

he was most a Royalist or a Covenanter, 

Fig. 26. Traquair House ; front view. 

for he professed to be each in turn, as best suited nis pur- 
pose. His last great move happened, unfortunately for 
him, to be towards royalty. Having, in 1648, raised a troop 
of horse for the ' Engagement,' to attempt the rescue of 
Charles I., he was taken prisoner at the battle of Preston, 
and afterwards detained as prisoner in Warwick Castle for four 
years. When set at liberty by Cromwell, he returned to 
Scotland, but in an impoverished condition, for his estate and 
goods had meanwhile been sequestrated. Though participating 
to a certain extent in his father's movements, Lord Linton had 


the address or good-fortune to save for himself and his heirs at 
least a portion of the family property, and was able to keep 
house at Traquair, while the earl was exposed to vicissitudes, 
uncheered by public respect or sympathy. Failing to secure 
help from his son, it is mentioned that he sunk into a condition 
so perfectly abject as to be not above accepting an alms from 
any old friend who took pity on his misfortunes. But to so low 
a pitch as this, Lord Traquair could not have fallen till almost 
the conclusion of his days, for, as already stated, he appeared in 
force at Peebles, along with the gentlemen of the county, in 
1654 ; and in 1657, he acted as a commissioner for the valuation 
of property within the shire, his name heading the list of those 
who verify the revised roll of rental, on the 22d of August that 
year ; * a circumstance which shews that his lordship was then 
under no legal disqualification, and that he was still, at least 
nominally, a proprietor of lands in the county. He lived two 
years after this transaction, and it was now, perhaps, that his 
chief hardships were experienced. One writer says : * ' There are 
still some living at Peebles that have seen him dine upon a salt 
herring and an onion.' Broken in spirit, the earl died 1659 ; and 
as evidencing the meanness of his circumstances, the annotator 
of Scott's Staggering State of Scots Statesmen says that at his 
burial there was no pall, but only a black apron over the coffin. 

Of Lord Linton, who became second earl, it is not easy to 
present any intelligible account, for his conduct was as incongru- 
ous as that of his father. In him were strangely united a ruling 
elder in the kirk along with the character of a drunkard and 
swearer ; affecting to be a Puritan, he married in succession two 
ladies who were Roman Catholics ; and the charge of unnatural 
behaviour towards his parents rests as a special stain on his 
memory. About the period of his father's financial collapse, he 
cleverly drifted into the ranks and good graces of the ultra-Pres- 
byterian or winning party. Of this, we have some proof in the 

1 County Documents. The signatures appended are : ' Traquaire, J. Murray, 
Wm. Murray, Jo. Veitch, Jo. Hay.' 
1 A Journey through Scotland, in Familiar Letter*, &c, 8vo. London, 1723. 


local records. 1647. ' For the more speedy carrying out of their 
acts, the session resolve to elect Lord Linton an elder, which was 
accordingly done, his lordship promising before the whole con- 
gregation to be faithful in the function.' 1648, April 26. ' Lord 
Linton was appointed to attend the ensuing synod as ruling 
elder from the session.' K. S. R,, Innerleithen. Considering 
his lordship's professions, it must have caused some degree of 
surprise as well as horror when, in 1649, he effected a marriage 
with Lady Henrietta Gordon, a daughter of George, second 
Marquis of Huntly, who, in old age and enfeebled health, had 
lately been beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh for his attach- 
ment to Charles I. Besides being a daughter of this unpopular 
royalist, Lady Henrietta was the relict of George, Lord Seton, 
eldest son of the second Earl of Winton, and worst of all, she 
was an excommunicated papist. There must, accordingly, have 
been a difficulty in getting the marriage-ceremony performed. 
This duty was at length undertaken by the minister of Dawick. 
Against law and usage, he married the pair privately without 
proclamation of bans, for which daring act he was deposed and 
excommunicated, and his church declared vacant. 1 Lord Linton 
did not get off unscathed : he was fined $000 Scots, and like- 
wise excommunicated and imprisoned. 2 Recovering from these 
penalties, his lordship was not deterred from committing a similar 
error, as it was thought. Lady Linton lived only a year after 
her marriage, and died without issue. Thus set free, his lordship, 
in 1654, married for his second wife Lady Anne Seton, half-sister 
of his former wife's brother rather a curious affinity. Lady 
Anne, also, was a Roman Catholic, but we hear of no pro- 
ceedings being taken on that score. Dwelling at Traquair House, 
Lord Linton maintained his conformity with the kirk, but 
unfortunately subjected himself to its censures. The Presbytery 
of Peebles, having its watchful eye on his lordship, and caring 
nothing for his rank, summoned him to appear to answer for 
certain irregularities with which he was reputed to be chargeable. 

1 Presbytery Records ; Lament's Diary. Nichol's Diary. 


1657, Aug. 9. 'The Lord Lyntoun (after many citations) called, 
compeared, and being charged by the moderator with these 
several miscarriages viz., absenting himself from the church, 
drinking, swearing, &c. he took with them, craved God mercie, 
and prayed for grace to eschew them in time coming. Whereupon 
his lordship being removed, the Presbytery resolved that the 
moderator should give him a grave rebuke, and exhort him to 
seek God, and to forbear these evills in time coming, which was 
accordingly done.' P. R. 

About the time of this pretty severe handling, Lord Linton 
thought fit to complain to the Presbytery, ' that his father had 
slandered him of unnatural dealing towards his parents,' and this 
reverend body, as was customary, not being disinclined to legislate 
on a family dispute, appointed (Dec. 3, 1657) ' Mr James Smith 
and John Hay to speak them both, and report.' P. R. His 
lordship was requested to give in the particulars of which he had 
complained, but this he never did, and there the matter dropped. 
The last time we hear of this extraordinary personage, is in 
connection with a search for papists. 1658, June 30. This day 
the commander of the troop lying in the shires of Peebles and 
Selkirk, desired information from the justices of all papists living 
within the shire of Peebles, that he might prescribe ane order for 
their personal deportment. The bench declared they knew of 
no papists in the shire except those who lived in Lord Linton's 
family. Lord Linton himself declared that his lady and three 
women were the only papists in his house. J. P. R. Succeeding 
to the earldom of Traquair in 1659, his lordship died in 1666, 
leaving a son to inherit his honours, whose education, as will 
soon appear, gave a deep degree of concern to the Privy Council 
The only circumstance we can think of as partly extenuating 
Lord Linton's conduct towards his father is, that he himself was 
in difficulties, for the Traquair estates were greatly encumbered 
with debts incurred to pay fines and save the family property 
from utter wreck. Of this condition of affairs, some details are 
afterwards presented. 

The restoration of monarchy in 1660 was attended in 


Peeblesshire with the same feeling of relief from a routine of 
petty oppression as elsewhere, and we now begin to hear of a 
resumption of those outdoor sports which had given celebrity 
to the burgh upwards of two centuries previously. In the Council 
Records, 26th May 1662, is the following entry : * Ordains 
Thursday next, the 29th of May, being His Majesty's happy 
restoration day, to be observed and kept conform to the act of 
parliament in all points.' In the same year, and probably for 
this joyous occasion, the shaft of the market-cross was decorated 
with a new vane, bearing the date 1662 in pierced figures, which 
in its altered condition it still retains. 

In these renovations, and in the affairs of the burgh generally, 
' My Lord Earl of Tweeddale,' the great man in the neighbour- 
hood, with whom the community exchanged courtesies, took 
especial interest. From the intimacy of this connection, his lord- 
ship's arms embracing the goat's head, erased, for crest were 
united with those of the town, on the silver cups run for on 
Beltane-day ; of the resumption of which old festive gathering, 
the burgh books bear good evidence after the Restoration. 

1663, Feb. 23. It is unanimously resolved that the town provide ane 
silver cup, of the value not exceeding, with workmanship, five pounds 
sterling, to be run for ; also ane saddle, value twenty pounds Scots, to 
be run for the morn after. Authorises Thomas Smyth, clerk, to go in 
to Edinburgh to bespeak my Lord Tweeddale, and to buy the cup and 
saddle. 1664, March 21. Ordains the treasurer to cause make and buy 
ane silver cup of the value of fifty or threescore pounds Scots, with my 
Lord Tweeddale and the town's arms and the town's motto thereupon ; 
also ane saddle of twenty pounds Scots value ; the cup to be run for on 
the first Thursday of May next, and the saddle the morn after. 1665, 
March 20. Authorises the treasurer to buy ane silver cup with my Lord 
Tweeddale and the town's arms, also ane saddle, to be run for on the 
Whitehaugh Moor. [Similar entry in 1666.] 1672, March 21. Ordains 
the treasurer to buy ane silver cup of twenty ounces weight, containing 
ane [Scots] pint, with my Lord Tweeddale and the town's arms ; also 
ane saddle worth forty shillings sterling, to be run for upon Beltane next, 
upon Whitehaugh Moor. B. R. 

As early as the reign of Charles I., and perhaps earlier, the 
Royal Archers of Scotland had assembled one day in the year 


at Peebles, to compete in shooting at butts for a silver arrow. 
Associated with some local usages, which possibly dated from 
the ancient Beltane festival of ' Peebles to the Play/ the archery 
meetings, like other amusements, suffered interruption during 
the broils which preceded, and the severities that accompanied 
the Usurpation. They now, as is observable from inscriptions on 
the arrow, were happily revived along with the horse-races at 
Beltane, and furnish another evidence that, with still much 
bigotry and a general terror of witchcraft, an air of geniality was 
coming over society. 

Less than two months after the Beltane festival of 1665, the 
intelligence of a plague more terrible than that of twenty years 
previously, created excessive alarm among the inhabitants of 
Peebles. This was the great plague which so disastrously 
affected London, and also proved destructive in Dublin ; but 
whether from the precautions adopted, or other reasons, Scotland 
escaped its visitation. The magistrates and Council of Peebles 
being called together on the 24th of July, to consider what 
measures should be adopted, the following entry is the result of 
their deliberations. 

' In obedience to ane act of His Majesty's Privy Council, I2th 
July instant, bearing that the sickness and plague in London 
is daily increasing and breaking out in several places of the 
kingdom of England, do therefore, in His Majesty's name, 
prohibit and discharge the inhabitants of this burgh to trade or 
to meet with the inhabitants or merchants of England till the 
1st of November next, and ay and until this restraint be taken 
off, or to pass out of this shire without a testimonial from the 
magistrates, or return without a testimonial from the sheriff, 
justice of peace, or magistrates, that the place where they 
were is free of any suspicion of the plague. And that no 
inhabitants reset or receive in lodging any strangers without 
sufficient testimonials, under the pain of losing their lives and 
goods, conform to the said act ; and ordains the inhabitants to 
be ready to guard and watch the ports tour about, as they shall 
be guided by the magistrates and intimation thereof.' Aug. 14. 


' Ordains James Williamson, treasurer, to cause repair the haill 
ports, and search for the town's locks and keys with all 
expedition.' B. R. 

Some years before, and at this period, the burgh added to its 
territorial possessions. The first purchase was that of certain 
parts of the lands of Hundleshope, adjoining Caidmuir, which 
had formerly been a cause of disturbance. These were bought 
in 1655 for 7750 merks ; each burgess on the roll to pay for his 
share of the lands fifty pounds Scots, in instalments extending 
over two years. B. R. In 1665, the magistrates and council 
made the purchase of Shielgreen, a pastoral farm, from the Earl 
of Tweeddale for eleven thousand merks [6i I, 2s. *$d. sterling]. 
B. R. This last acquisition indicates very significantly the 
growing wealth of the community. 

There are other signs of progress. A drum is bought for 
the town -crier, who has hitherto used 'ane clapper' in calling 
attention to his announcements ; and the wearing of bonnets by 
councillors and magistrates is thought to be undignified. 

1664, Oct. 17. It is unanimously concluded and statuted that the 
haill members of the Council shall buy and wear hats on all occasions 
when they are called to wait upon the magistrates, and when they come 
to the council, and they are to provide themselves therewith betwixt 
and Yule next, ilk person contravening under the pain of 6j. %d. And 
the magistrates are ordained to wear hats daily. At Council meetings, 
ilk member removing himself [or going out] without leave, to pay twa 
shillings ; and whoever shall speak unspeared at, or who shall not be 
attentive to what shall be tabled, to submit himself to the Council's will. 
B. R. Injunctions as to keeping the streets and bridges clean, and 
preventing swine from rambling about the thoroughfares, now become 
conspicuous. We have also edicts against hens scraping in gardens or 
on the thatched roofs of the houses, to prevent which, it is ordained, 
April 9, 1666, that to one of the feet of every hen there shall be fixed a 
clog of wood ; and for ilk hen found unclogged, its owner to pay 
four shillings, one half to go to the officers for their pains. B. R. 
Some advance in manners is perhaps indicated by an injunction to 
attend the funerals of persons of distinction as a public duty. 1670, 
Feb. 28. When the magistrates receive any letter announcing the burial 
of a person of quality, twenty of the ablest honest burgesses, upon lawful 
advertisement, shall accompany them to the burial, ilk person so 


advertised under the penalty of ane half-crown ; all honest men to be 
advertised tour about. B. R. 

1674. There was a great storm of snow, with violent nipping 
cold frost, that lay from the i$th day of January to the i8th of 
March, wherein were thirteen drifty days. The most part of the 
country lost the most part of their sheep, and many of the nolt, 
and many all their sheep. It was universal ; and many people 
were almost starved for want of fuel. B. R. Such is the account 
of the celebrated Thirteen Drifty Days, authenticated by John 
M'Ewen, town-clerk of Peebles, in 1677. James Hogg, who 
gives a striking description of the losses suffered from this 
remarkable winter-storm, misstates the year as 1620. 

On the 24th of August 1674, the magistrates and council of 
Peebles endeavoured, with praiseworthy energy, to organise a 
species of friendly society in the burgh, the object specified being 
to make a provision for old age and poverty. The association 
was to consist of all ' male servants,' each of whom is to pay 
entry-money at ' brotherin/ and stated fees and fines afterwards. 
Among other rules, ' it is ordained that if any man or lad in 
going to or returning from the coals leaves his neighbour by the 
way, and does not do all in his power to help him [the roads 
being bad and dangerous from robbers], he shall be fined ane 
merk Scots to the box. Also, that every brother (being invited, 
and obtaining his master and mistress's liberty) who goes not to 
his brother's wedding without ane reasonable excuse, shall pay 
into the box ane merk Scots. B. R. 

The obligation to attend ' Penny Weddings,' as they were 
called, marks the progress of sentiment on the score of festivity ; 
for, twenty years earlier, as will be remembered, the Presbytery 
denounced ' promiscous dancing,' which was the principal enter- 
tainment at these assemblages. With any laxity as regards 
horse-racing and dancing, there was none with respect to harass- 
ing papists. The Privy Council taking alarm lest the Dowager 
Lady Traquair should bring up her elder son, William, in her own 
religious belief, thought it was bound to interfere. Accordingly, 
in 1672, when the youthful earl had reached fifteen years of 


age, the Countess of Traquair was requested to attend at 
Holyrood House, and bring her son with her, which summons 
she chose to neglect, and forthwith a warrant was issued to 
messengers-at-arms to bring her before the Council, along with 
her son. Both were produced within a week. Feb. 8. Com- 
peared the Countess of Traquair, with her son the earl, who is 
ordered to be consigned to the care of the Professor of Divinity 
in the university of Glasgow, to be educated in the reformed 
religion, at sight of the Archbishop of Glasgow. No popish 
servants to be allowed to attend him. P. C. R, By some means, 
the order was evaded, and the case again comes up nearly two 
years later. 1673, Dec. 3. At Holyrood House the Countess of 
Traquair compeared to exhibit her son the earl, in order to be 
educated in the reformed religion. The Council resolve he shall 
be sent to a good school, with a pedagogue and servants as the 
Archbishop of Glasgow should name ; the Earl of Galloway to 
defray charges. A letter to be sent to the archbishop, and that 
the lady in the meantime keep the earl her son for ten or twelve 
days. P. C. R. How the matter terminated, does not appear. 
The earl dying unmarried, was succeeded by Charles, his brother, 
through whom, as will be narrated in its proper place, Roman 
Catholicism was confirmed in the family, notwithstanding all 
efforts to the contrary. 

Scotland was now in the heat of the distractions which arose 
from the introduction of a modified episcopacy ; the popular 
exasperation being in no small degree increased by a test or 
oath of office, which was enforced under very severe penalties. 1 

1 The following was the Test or Declaration appointed by Act 5 of the Second 
Session of Parliament, 1662, to be subscribed by all persons in public trust : 

' I, , do sincerely affirm and declare, That I judge it unlawful to Subjects, 
upon Pretext of Reformation, or any other Pretext whatsomever, to enter into Leagues 
and Covenants, or to take up Arms against the King, or those commissioned by him ; 
and that all those Gatherings, Convocations, Petitions, Protestations, and erecting or 
keeping of Council-tables that were used in the beginning, and for the carrying on of 
the late Troubles, were unlawful and seditious : And particularly, that these Oaths, 
whereof the one was commonly called the National Covenant (as it was sworn and 
explained in the year 1638, and thereafter), and the other, entituled A Solemn League 
and Covenant, were and are in themselves unlawful Oaths, and were taken by, and 
imposed upon the subjects of this Kingdom, against the fundamental Laws and Liberties 


Through the influence of the Earl of Tweeddale and other pro- 
prietors, Peeblesshire, as in preceding times, remained externally 
submissive, but unquestionably there was discontent almost 
amounting to rebellion in the district ; the parishes bordering on 
Clydesdale and Dumfriesshire being particularly disaffected. We 
obtain glimpses of the state of affairs from different public records. 
In December 1661, the Presbytery of Peebles was charged by the 
Privy Council not to admit Mr John Hay, student of divinity, 
to be minister of Manor, until the bishops were restored to their 
privileges. The members having disobeyed this injunction 
appeared by summons before the Council, January 2, 1662, and 
were assoilzied on promise of obedience. P. C. R. 

In the long list of noblemen, gentlemen, burgesses, and others 
throughout Scotland, who were arbitrarily fined by the Act 1662 
usually called Middleton's Act for having complied with 
Cromwell's usurpation, are found only seven persons connected 
with Peeblesshire ; though how they were worse in this respect 
than the whole county, it is not easy to understand. The names, 
with the sums in Scots money exacted, are as follows : 

The Laird of Polmood, .... ;6oo 

William Russel of Slipperfield, . . . 600 

Douglas of Linton, . . . . 360 

Cranston of Glen, .... 800 

John Horsburgh, bailie of Peebles, . . . 360 

Mr Andrew Hay, brother to Mr John Hay of Hayston, 600 

Joseph Learmont, .... 1200 

As regards the last-named person, there has seemingly been 
an inaccuracy in including his name in the list for Peeblesshire. 
By historians he is designated ' Major Joseph Learmont of 
Newholme,' a property which is said to be 'situated partly 
within the shire of Lanark, and partly in Peeblesshire.' We 
find, on inquiry, that Newholme at least in the present day is 
confined entirely to Lanarkshire, and accordingly, it is to be feared, 

of the same ; and that there lieth no obligation upon me or any of the Subjects, from 
the said Oaths, or either of them, to endeavour any Change or Alteration of the Govern- 
ment either in Church or State, as 'tis now established by the Laws of the Kingdom.' 


that the county of Peebles can sustain no claim to this valiant 
covenanting hero ; yet, as residing near Tweeddale, and at 
times drawing recruits from its western parishes to swell the ranks 
of the insurgents, Learmont of Newholme merits a passing word 
in our county history. Skilful and resolute as a soldier, and of 
mature years, he was one of the more valued leaders of the 
insurrection, and against great odds dared more than once to 
confront the royal forces. At the battle of Rullion Green, on 
the skirts of the Pentland Hills, Nov. 28, 1666, he led the princi- 
pal attack ; in which being unsuccessful, a rout ensued, but he 
managed to escape, along with William Veitch, a preacher, who 
afterwards wrote an account of the affair, and lived to be minister 
of Peebles. On the day after the battle, the horse and foot of 
the county were ordered ' to stay at Linton Bridge till Saturday 
next.' P. C. R. This was probably with a view to guarding the 

1668, Sept. 3. Commissions issued for command of forces in 
Peeblesshire : James Murray of Skirling to be cornet ; Archibald 
Murray of Blackbarony, lieutenant-colonel ; John Murray of 
Cardon, younger, ensign ; William Horsburgh of that Ilk, 
captain ; James Naesmyth of Posso, captain ; George Brown of 
Scotstown, lieutenant. P. C. R. 

1670. Mr Robert Lighten, bishop of Dumblane, is set over 
Glasgow diocese ; he comes to Glasgow, keeps a synod at 
Peebles, and another at Glasgow, the said month. Law's 
Memorials. This was the celebrated Archbishop Leighton, who 
stands out so conspicuously for a gentle pious spirit in an age of 
religious prejudice and intolerance. He began life as the minister 
of Newbattle, was afterwards elected Principal of the University 
of Edinburgh, and at the introduction of episcopacy was nomi- 
nated to the bishopric of Dumblane. In this as well as in the 
higher office of Archbishop of Glasgow, Leighton conducted 
himself with a degree of moderation which gained universal 
esteem. Disliking the violent measures adopted by government, 
and unable by remonstrance or persuasion to soften asperities on 
either side, he resigned his archbishopric in 1673, and retired to 


England, where he spent his concluding years in writing a 
number of theological treatises, which have been admired for 
their lofty and evangelical spirit. Leighton died in London in 
1684, leaving a character for profound learning, engaging 
manners, and cheerfulness of disposition. Throughout its whole 
history, Peebles has been connected with, or visited by, no 
greater or more estimable man than this. 1 

If Leighton, while archbishop of Glasgow, happened to come 
into collision with the kirk-sessions within his extensive diocese, 
he would not have been without excuse for relinquishing office. 
Apparently unmodified by any incidents springing out of the 
restoration, these minor ecclesiastical bodies, composed of the 
minister and lay-elders of a parish, continued to interfere as 
formerly in matters, which, if worthy of notice at all, belonged 
properly to the civil magistrate. A few examples may be 

1674, July. A drove of nowt came through the town between 
sermons, and the drovers not coming to church in the afternoon, were 
given to the magistrates to be punished for profanation. 1675, Dec. 17. 
A bill given in to the session by Margaret Stevenson, spouse of James 
Haddon, one of the elders, against John Mitchell, a travelling man, who, 
being several days in the town seeking charity, had slandered her for a 
witch. John denied having done so; but it being proved against him, 
he is condemned to stand upon the cross with a paper on his breast* 
declaring his faults; thereafter to be dismissed the town by tuck of 

1 Dr Gilbert Burner, who was intimately acquainted with Leighton, makes some 
interesting observations on his life and character : ' He had gathered a well-chosen 
library of curious as well as useful books, which he left to the diocese of Dumblane 
for the use of the clergy there, that country being ill provided with books. He 
retained still a peculiar inclination to Scotland ; and if he had seen any prospect 
of doing good there, he would have gone and lived and died among them. There 
were two remarkable circumstances in his death. He used often to say, that if 
he were to choose a place to die in, it should be an inn ; it looking like a pilgrim's 
going home, to whom this world was all as an inn, and who was weary of the noise 
and confusion of it And he obtained what he desired, for he died at the Bell Inn in 
Warwick Lane. Another circumstance was, that while he was a bishop in Scotland, 
he took what his tenants were pleased to pay him. So that there was a great arrear 
due, which was raised very slowly by one whom he left in trust with his affairs there. 
And the last payment that he could expect from thence was returned up to him about 
six weeks before his death. So that his provision and journey failed both at once. 
History of My Own Times. 



drum, and discharged never to be found within the burgh under penalty 
of being scourged. Janet Jenkinson having slandered the same woman, 
Margaret Stevenson, by saying she had witched James Simson's cows, 
and caused them to give red blood for milk, is ordered to be rebuked. 
1677, Jan. William Lang, town-piper, to be rebuked for playing at 
unseasonable hours, and is discharged to play after 8 o'clock, under a 
penalty of forty shillings Scots. 1678. Andrew Scott accused of 
selling his wife for ^40 Scots to John Wood, declaring that she was 
cheap at the money. Excuses himself by saying he was in drink, but is 
ordered to confess publicly. K. S. R., Peebles. 

When the risings drew to a head in the west, the commis- 
sioners of militia in Peeblesshire were ordered (Feb. 18, 1677) 'to 
call together the regiment and troop of horse, armed and pro- 
visioned for twenty days ; and to march from the appointed 
rendezvous to Glasgow, there to abide orders of the committee 
of council and his Majesty's general.' P. C. R. 

Dr Pennecuik, who lived through this troublous period, and 
acted as physician in the militia raised to suppress the insurrec- 
tion, might have afforded us a somewhat more satisfactory 
account of public feeling than that which is contained in his brief 
allusion to the subject. The records of the Presbytery and kirk- 
sessions lead us to think that besides being brief, the doctor has 
the misfortune to be not very accurate. 1677. ' No public sermon 
from April 22 till May 5, soldiers being sent to apprehend the 
minister, but he receiving notification of their design, went away 
and retired.' May 1 3. ' The minister adventured to preach, 
having watchers.' K. S. R., Drummelzier. 1677, Dec. 2. No 
session kept, by reason of the elders being all at conventicles. 
K. S. R., Tiaeedsmuir . Similar entries in the books of this parish 
for several years, and frequent notices of irregular baptisms and 
marriages. One of these notices (Nov. 23, 1679) purports to be 
a ' memorandum of those who baptised their children disorderly 
at house or field conventicles ; ' such meetings usually taking 
place in remote parts among the hills near the head of the Core, 
the Fruid, and the Talla. Other two entries are equally illus- 
trative of the state of affairs. 1679, June i (Drumclog day) till 
July 20. ' There was no sermon, owing to the rebellion in the 


west; the ministers not daring to stay at their charges, on 
account of the rebels being so cruel to them.' 1681, Nov. 20. 
1 No sermon, the minister being at Glasgow taking the test.' 
K. S. R., Tweedsmuir. 

As regards the battle of Bothwell Bridge, June 22, 1679, we 
know from credible authority, that instead of twelve persons, as 
stated by Pennecuik, the county of Peebles contributed a con- 
siderable body of horse and foot to the rebel forces in that 
memorable struggle. 'Afternoon, Major Learmonth came in 
with a considerable body of horse and foot from Tweeddale that 
night, where was a council called at the Hags, the officers 
meeting in one room, and the ministers in another.' l We further 
learn, from the same and other authorities, that Learmont took 
part in the battle, having, along with Robert Hamilton, led the 
desperate charge on the occasion. 8 

The ferment in the county is in some measure indicated by 
entries in the books of the Presbytery and Privy Council 

1680, April 7. This day, the Presbytery taking to their consideration 
the frequent and rebellious meetings there are among them, .where 
persons who have been intercomuned since the rebellion in the year 
1665, now go publicly to several persons' houses, and tak upon them to 
preach in the doors and entries of the houses where they are resett, at 
all which meetings there are several hundreds without doors, who either 
have been at Bothwell Bridge themselves, or frequent the company of 
such ; and thir meetings being now a new-kindled fyre in this place of 
the kingdom, where never any rebellious meeting of this nature formerlie 
was, they humblie crave advice from the archbishop and synod what to 

1 Russell's Account of the Murder of Archbishop Sharpe, appended to Kirkton's 
History of the Church of Scotland, edited by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, p. 460. 

* A variety of particulars concerning Learmont will be found in Wodrow's History 
of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, in M 'Crie's Life of Veitch, and in Law's 
Memorials. Law mentions that after Bothwell Bridge, this indomitable old soldier 
hid himself in a vault underground, near his own house. The vault had its entry in 
his house, and was so artfully closed with a stone, that none would have suspected 
there was such a place of concealment. Here, on occasions of alarm, he took refuge, 
and thus kept himself safe for several years. He was at length discovered, tried, and 
ordered for execution, ' but through interest made for him, the sentence was commuted 
into imprisonment in the Bass.' Law, p. 217. 'He survived the Revolution; and 
soon after that happy event, died in his own house of Newholme in the eighty-eighth 
years of his age.' Wodrow, ii. p. 262. 


do in such cases. P. jR. The archbishop, by a letter, appointed a 
synodal meeting of the whole diocese of Glasgow to consider the subject. 

p. je. 

Dec. 1 6. Thomas Scott of Whitslaid compeared before the Privy 
Council to answer the charge of not having come out against the 
rebels, as he was bound to do by the king's proclamations; he shews 
that he was absent from the kingdom at the time, and is assoilzied. 
P. C. jR. 

Mr David Thomson, minister of Manor, having incurred 
popular resentment, his dwelling and person were attacked, and 
his property unscrupulously carried off by a party in the Cove- 
nanting interest. The following account of the affair, in the books 
of the Privy Council, has escaped the vigilance of Wodrow. 

1 68 1, July 6. 'Whereas all heritors and parishioners are in 
terms of law bound to protect authorised ministers from assault 
and affront, yet true it is that on the 9th of September 1680, a 
number of armed men at night did violently intrude on the 
house of Mr David Thomson, minister at Manor, and did fall 
upon, beat, and wound him in his head and other parts of his 
body, so that he fell down as dead, but with strength to call for 
one to panse 1 his wounds, the saids persons said they would 
panse him by giving him the crosse stroak, adding that if all the 
curats and oppressors of Christ's cause had the stroak it would 
be well for the kirk of Scotland; and the said persons did not 
sist here only, but having time and opportunity, did plunder his 
house, and took away his horses, amounting all to a considerable 
value.' 2 The heritors, who are supposed to have heard of the 
outrage, having failed to pursue and apprehend the persons 
implicated, ought to make 'payment of such soume of money 
as the Council shall think fit to modify for reparation to the 
said minister.' Those charged are 'James Naesmyth of Posso, 

1 Panser (French), to dress wounds. See Jameson. The word panse, at one time 
employed in colloquial Scotch, is now disused. 

1 It would appear that wandering bands of insurgents did not scruple to commit 
outrages of this kind. Speaking of those taken at Bothwell Bridge, Law says, ' These 
people, while they were agathering, ranged through all the country and citys they 
could come at, and took away all the arms, gunns, and swords they could, and best 
horse, without recompense.' Memorials, p. 151. 


George Baylly of Manorhall, James Scott of Hundleshop, Mr 
Hugh Gray, portioner of Woodhouse, John and Thomas Inglis 
of Manorhead, David Murray of Glenrath, Jean Baylly, heretrix, 
there, Robert Scott of Glack, Alexander Patterson of Caverhill, 
William Burnet of Barnes, and Jean Paterson, relict of the Laird 
of Woodhouse. It being proved as libelled, that the defenders 
did not pursue and apprehend the rebels, the Council decerns 
that they shall pay 'the soume of one thousand merks Scots, 
with relief against each other and their tenants for the amount ; 
payment to be lodged with His Majesty's cash-keeper.' The 
fine being paid, is ordered to be given to Mr David Thomson, 
minister, for repairing to him the losses and damages sustained 
from the rebels. P. C. R. 

In August 1 68 1, parliament passed an act, enforcing on all 
persons in public trust the obligation to take an oath or test 
of a considerably more comprehensive nature than that which 
had been imposed in 1662. This fresh demand brought the 
loyalty of the magistrates and council of Peebles, also of the 
Laird of Stanhope, under challenge. 

1 68 1, Nov. 24. Petition presented to the Privy Council by 
William Plenderleath, provost, John Hope, bailie, and John 
Govan, treasurer, of the burgh of Peebles, for themselves and 
remaining magistrates and councillors ' Showing that the peti- 
tioners being desirous to take the test, were always willing, But 
the toune being very inconsiderable, and the petitioners very 
illiterate and ignorant, and being in a remote place, where they 
could get no person to informe them of the difference betwixt 
the act of parliament and the act of Councill, and not having the 
act of parliament in all the counterey, nor yet the Confession of 
faith to which it related, the petitioners humbly desire to have a 
time to advise as concerning the test. But to the end their toune 
cannot be without magistracie to serve the king, as in other 
places, they did at the ordinar dyet, as formerly, choice magis- 
trats and take the declaration, thinking that the first of January 
was sufficient to take the test. But as soon as the petitioners 
understood the act of parliament, they were, and are heartily 


willing to take the test when and where his Royal Highnes and 
the Councill pleases ; having been always very loyall and ready 
to serve their king upon all occasions, amongst other instances 
their care and diligence in the late rebellion [battle of Bothwell 
Bridge] was taken notice of by the Councill, who did the 
petitioners the honour as to return them their particular thanks 
therefor. And humbly supplicating that the Councill would allow 
the said petitioners in toune to take the test in the presence of 
any one of their number, and authorise them to see the other 
magistrats, councillors, and clerk of the said burgh, take and 
sign the same betwixt and a certain day. His Royal Highnes, 
his Majesties High Commissioner, and Lords of his Majesties 
Privy Council, having heard and considered the foresaid petition, 
and the said provost, baylles, and theasurar of the said burgh of 
Peebles, petitioners having taken and signed the test before one 
of the Councill competent to that effect, Doe, hereby, authorise 
and commission them to administer the said test to the remaining 
magistrats, councillors, and clerk of the said burgh, and to see 
them take and sign the same, and appoints them to report and 
account thereof to the Councill betwixt and the third Thursday of 
December next.' P. C. R. 

1682, Feb. 23. Petition of Sir William Murray of Stanhope, 
shewing that his predecessors had a right to the baillerie of 
Stobo from the Archbishops of Glasgow, it being part of their 
regality, and which the petitioner stands infeft upon that he has 
ever been ready to support the government, but that being 
prevented by indisposition and the stormie season in this remote 
part of the country, it was impossible for him to come and take 
the test ; humbly supplicates to be allowed to take and sign the 
test before any person the Council may appoint. 'Warrant 
granted to the Lord Primate to administer the test to the 
supplicant ; and which test he hath accordingly taken and 
signed.' P. C. R. 

Amidst concern respecting public affairs, the authorities of 
Peebles are annoyed on account of a civic rebellion about some 
petty rights of common. 


1682, March 23. The complaint of William Plenderleath, 
provost, and John Hope and John Gray, bailies, on their own 
behalf and that of the council, respecting a riot which took place 
in the burgh on the I3th of February preceding, makes mention 
that 4 it was advantageous for the common good of the burgh to 
sett after a publick roup a little piece of the commontie and grasse 
lying about the wall of the toune, Becaus whilst it was a com- 
montie it was a pretext for incomers to the said burgh and the 
poor people to eat up their neighbours corne.' The letting of this 
small piece of common ground led to a grievous and illegal 
tumult, for whereas a large number of persons came to the 
tolbooth, where the magistrates were sitting administering justice, 
and there 'declaimed against the proceedings of court and 
magistrats and council for taking of the said most loyal and 
advantageous course, warning the provost if he did so he should 
be sticked, as Provost Dickison was, whereupon the complainers 
committed only two of them viz., William Porteous and 
Andrew Halden, the ringleaders of the said tumult, to abide 
still in the tolbooth in prison, to answer for the said cryme. And 
notwithstanding hereof, Thomas King, James Waldie, John 
Tweeddale, elder, John Tweeddale, junior, James Stevenson, 
Thomas Stoddart, and John Tweedie, burgeses and inhabitants 
of the said burgh, did by force carry away them out of prison. 
Likeas, upon the second day of March thereafter, the saids 
persons did by themselves and others^ convocat several women, 
and particularly Marion Bennet, Marion Grieve, Margaret 
Wilson, Isobell Wilson, Isobell Robertson, Janet Eumond, 
Isobell Eumond, and Helen Steill, who did in a most tumultuary 
and irregular way take out of prison the persons of Thomas 
Stoddart, Alexander Jenkison, John Tweedie, Thomas King, 
William Porteous, Andrew Halden, James Waldie, and William 
Leggat, and went to the croce of Peebles with them, and there 
drank their good health, as protectors of the liberties of the poore, 
and the confusion of the magistrats and council, and took 
up with them [on the platform of the cross] stones to stone to 
death such as should oppose them ; and thereafter, they being 


about three hundred persons, divided themselves in several 
companies, and every company convoyed home a person, and 
drank their good health, to the great astonishment of the honest 
and well-meaning people.' The principal rioters having com- 
peared, after evidence led, the Lords find guilty as libelled 
William Porteous, Andrew Halden, Thomas Stoddart, John 
Tweedie, and Alexander Jenkison, and ' ordain them to be 
committed to the tolbooth of Edinburgh, there to remain in 
prison until further orders ; and declare them to have lost the 
benefit of their burgisship in the said burgh, and appoints the 
magistrats of the said burgh to call for and destroy their burges- 
tickets. And remits to the magistrats to convene before them 
the haill rest of the inhabitants that were accessory to the 
tumult and ryot libelled, and to proceed against them therefore 
in fyning, imprisonment, and ryveing their burges-tickets as 
they shall find cause.' 

Consigned to the tolbooth of Edinburgh, the delinquents, a 
few days afterwards, seemingly in deep mortification, petition 
the Privy Council to let them out, on the ground that ' they are 
poore ignorant men, who did not think they could have given 
any offence to the magistrates of Peebles ; are willing to undergo 
any censure the Council thinks fit ; but some of them being 
valetudinary persons, and not able to undergo the restraint of a 
prison without impairing their health, and others having their 
livelyhood by labouring, and this being the only time that they 
ought to go about the tilling and sawing of the ground, humbly 
supplicat to be set at liberty.' On the 3ist of March, the Lords 
granted warrant to liberate them upon their giving caution for 
future good-behaviour, but ' ilk ane of them is to appear before 
the Council when called on under penalty of five hundred merks 
Scots.' They are also ordered to go before the magistrates and 
Council of Peebles on Wednesday the twelfth of April, to 
acknowledge their fault, and ' crave pardon of the same under 
the foresaid penalty.' 

In May 1684, a royal proclamation was issued denouncing 
those charged with rebellion, who had fled from justice, but 


declaring that if they should present themselves ' betwixt and 
the first of August next ensuing,' and shew to any justices of 
peace that 'they had taken the bond or test in due time/ 
they would be 'relaxed gratis.' The proclamation terminates 
with a long roll of fugitives, among whom the following is the 
list belonging to Peeblesshire, all seemingly in humble life : 

William Forbes, servant to Thomas Weir in Sclathole. 

Thomas Weir, merchant traveller. 

James Mitchell, cooper in Linton. 

Adam Hunter in Fingland. 

James Ramage in Skirlin. 

James Richardson, tailor in Logan. 

William Porteous, in Earlshaugh. 

James Welsh in Fingland. 

George Hunter in Corehead. 

John Welsh in Minzien. 

James Nicol, vagabond in the said shire. 

A committee of the Privy Council sitting at Edinburgh, June 
6, 1684, having been informed that two field conventicles had 
been held within the borders of Peeblesshire, directed a letter to 
be sent to ' Sir Archibald Murray of Blackbarony, Sir William 
Murray of Stanhope, and John Veitch of Dawick,' as follows 
(original spelling preserved) : 

' GENTLEMEN The Lords of the Comittee of Councill for publict 
affairs Being certainly informed that ther was a field Conventicle keept 
upon Sunday the ffirst of June instant at Cairnehill, and another upon 
the Eight of the said month at Colstouneslope in Peebles shyre, where 
ther wer severall men in armes and diverss women present, which they 
think very strange, either as to your suffering those Conventicles to have 
been keept, or not dissipateing them, or giving advertisement thereof, as 
was appointed by the CouncilPs proclamatione in Jully 1682, upon such 
ane occasione in your shyre. And therefore wee requyre yow ime- 
diately to make dilligent search after the persones who wer the preachers, 
and upon whose ground the same wer keept. And to return us a speedy 
account thereof. And to secure such of them as yow find guilty. And 
also requyre yow to advertise that party of His Majestie's forces at 
Bogehall to prosecute those persones guilty of those Conventicles. And 
to acquaint us of ther dilligence from tyme to tyme, as they will be 


answearable. And if any such meeting fall out hereafter, yow are to 
give advertisement thereof to the sheriff of the shyre, or Commander of 
the fforces nearest to yow. And to certifie the said sheriff that if he do 
not his duty, he will be looked upon as disaffected to his Majestie's 
government, and proceeded against accordingly. Wee are your affec- 
tionat friends.' P. C. JR. 

Next follows a letter from the committee to General Dalyell 
on the same subject : 

' SIR Having receaved information of a Conventicle keept at Cairn- 
hill upon the ffirst instant, and another at Colstouneslope, upon the 
eight thereof, in Peebles shyre, where severall men wer in armes, and 
diverss women present, of which informatione a Coppie is herewith sent, 
wee desyre your Excellencie to give such orders for discovery of those 
persones, and apprehending them, and of the heretors on whose ground 
the Conventicles wer keept, as yow shall think fitt. And wee expect 
frequent accounts in this affair ffrom your Excellencie. Wee ar your 
Excellencie's humble servants.' P. C. R. 

The committee subsequently discovering that the conventicles 
had taken place within the confines of the shire of Edinburgh, 
request ' Master Thomas Skein, sheriff-deput,' to make the 
requisite inquiries. A letter being received by the Lord Primate 
from Claverhouse, next comes under notice, June 6, 1684: 

'Ther being a Letter direct from Claverhouse to the Lord primate, 
giving ane account of the dilligence done by the forces in pursuit of 
those rebells in armes in the west, the Lords ordered a Coppie thereof 
to be sent to the Lord high Thesaurer, with the Coppies of the papers 
yesternight ordered. 

' The Letter under written is direct from the Comittee of Councill to 
the Lord high Thesaurer, being prepared, brought in, and read, was 
signed by the Comittee. And ordered to be dispatched this night, of 
which the tenor followes : 

'May it please your Lordship, Since our Last of the ffourteenth 
instant, wee have receaved severall accounts anent the rebells in armes 
in the west, and ane information anent two Conventicles in Peebles 
shyre, and just now a Letter from Claverhouse anent his and the other 
officers of the armie ther dilligence in persute of those rebells, dated the 
Sexteenth instant, from Paislay, of all which, and of the journalls of the 
Comittee, wee have herewith transmitted to your Lordship exact Coppies, 
That His Majestic and his Royall Highness may be furder informed. 


And wee shall not faill to do our outmost duety In suppressing those 
rogues, and securing the peace of the country. And shall continue to 
give your Lordship frequent accounts of our dilligence from tyme to 
tyme, wherewith wee hope your Lordship will be pleased to acquaint His 
Majestic and his Royall Highness.' P. C. jR. 

1684, Aug. A proclamation was this day read for the 
discovery of those who were in arms in the west lately, and their 
resetters. Oct. 19. Order read publicly that all heritors were to 
meet with the commissioners of the Privy Council at Peebles, 
and especially ministers and elders are to wait on the court at 
Peebles on Wednesday next. 1685, Jan. 18. A proclamation 
read to discover those who own or who will not discover a late 
treasonable declaration against His Majesty, and the horrid 
principle of assassination therein specified. K. S. R., Manor. 

Sept. 5. ' The Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council, under- 
standing that several officers of the Militia in the Shire of 
Peebles are wanting, Do Give warrant to the Clerks of Councill 
to write to the Commissioners of the Militia of that shire to 
meet and name qualified and loyal persons to be officers of the 
militia in the said shire where there are places vacant, to be 
transmitted to the saids Clerks, to be considered and approven 
of by the Councill.' P. C. R. 

1685, Sept. 6. The Earl of Balcarras, Lord Yester, and 
William Hay of Drummelzier, are commissioned justiciars of the 
shires of Roxburgh, Merse, Selkirk, and Peebles, to secure and 
punish the rebels according to law. P. C. R. 

Peeblesshire has the honour, or dishonour, of having had 
one of its conveners associated with Claverhouse in the 
dismal houndings and shootings of 1685. The person who 
imparted to it this distinction was the Honourable Colonel 
James Douglas, brother to the first Duke of Queensberry. 
Quitting the profession of the law, he entered the army, 
purchased the estate of Skirling in 1681, and was appointed 
to be a colonel of the Scots Guards, 1684. In 1685, he 
appears as convener of the Commissioners of Supply of Tweed- 
dale. From all we can learn, Douglas was a man of superior 


attainments. As a commander, he rendered himself remarkable 
for the training and good discipline of his regiment, also for 
enforcing sobriety and neat personal appearance among the 
men. Officers had been in the habit of keeping cellars, whereby 
to make their soldiers waste their pay in drinking, which 
despicable practice he rebuked and put down. Colonel Douglas 
rose to the rank of lieutenant-general, no doubt through the 
interest of his brother, who exercised the chief power in Scotland 
in the latter days of Charles II. As one to be depended on for 
his military knowledge and discretion, General Douglas was 
employed, in 1685, to march against the Covenanters in the 
southern counties, and received very extensive powers to search 
for and punish rebels. Wodrow mentions a number of cruelties, 
of which he is alleged to have been the perpetrator. According 
to local tradition, he attacked and dispersed a gathering in a 
secluded part of Tweedsmuir, on which occasion John Hunter 
was shot at a place called Corehead. The tombstone of this 
unfortunate man, erected in 1726, is to be seen in Tweedsmuir 
churchyard. General Douglas going abroad after this event, 
the Privy Council found it necessary to empower the Laird of 
Blackbarony to act as convener of the county until his return. 
He died at Namur, I69I. 1 

The Douglases were destined to play a more important part in 
county matters. Pressed upon by financial difficulties, the Earl 
of Tweeddale found it necessary to dispose of Neidpath and 
the extensive estate connected with it to the Duke of Queens- 
berry, at Whitsunday 1686. The whole property was soon after 
gifted by the duke to his second son, Lord William Douglas, 
already created Earl of March, who now assumes the position of 
patron of the burgh and leading man in the sheriffdom. 

At the Revolution of 1688, which transferred the crown to 
William and Mary, and substituted the Presbyterian for the 
Episcopal form of church-government in Scotland, Peebles, 
like some other places, was visited by an enraged mob, which 

1 Skirling Papers. The appearance of General Douglas is pictured in p. 206. 


proceeded to commit such irregularities as fell in with the frenzy 
of the period. We have an account of this strange visitation of 
Peebles in the Vindication of Mr Richard Cameron, by the cele- 
brated Peter Walker, of Bristo Port, Edinburgh * Peter himself 
having apparently taken an active part in the tumult. The 
following are the particulars : 'In the end of the year 1688, at 
the happy Revolution, when the Duke of York [James VII.] fled, 
and the crown was vacant, in which time we had no king nor 
judicatories in the kingdom, the united societies in their general 
correspondence, considering the surprising, unexpected, merciful 
step of the Lord's dispensation, thought it some way belonged to 
us, in the inter-regnum, to go to all Popish houses, and destroy 
their monuments of idolatry, with their priests' robes, and to 
apprehend and put to prison themselves ; which was done at the 
cross of Dumfries and Peebles, and other places. That honour- 
able and worthy gentleman, Donald Ker of Kersland, 2 having a 
considerable number of us with him, went to the House of 
Traquair, in frost and snow, and found a great deal of Romish 
wares there, but wanted the cradle, Mary, and the Babe, and the 
priest. He sent James Arcknyes, and some with him, to the 
house of Mr Thomas Louis, who had the name of a Presbyterian 
minister. Kersland ordered them to search his house narrowly, 
and behave themselves discreetly, which they did. Mr Louis 
and his wife mocked them, without offering them either meat or 
drink, though they had much need of it. At last they found two 
trunks locked, which they desired to have opened. Mr Louis 
then left them. They broke up the coffers, wherein they found 
a golden cradle, with Mary, and the Babe in her bosom ; in the 
other trunk, the priests' robes (the earl and the priest were fled), 
which they brought all to the cross of Peebles, with a great deal 
of Popish books, and many other things of great value, all 

1 Published originally in 1727, and republished in the Biographia Presbyterians. 
Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1827. 

* For the proper character of this ' honourable and worthy gentleman," who acted as 
spy and informer for government, under the immediate orders of the Duke of Queens- 
berry, see Burton's History of Scotland, i. p. 463. 



Romish wares, and burnt them there. At the same time, we 
concluded to go to all the Prelatick intruding curates, and to 
give them warning to remove, with all that belonged to them. 
.... That we should call for the church's goods, cups, and 
basons, and also for the kirk-box, wherein was nothing but a few 
doits ; likewise for the session-book and kirk-door keys ; and 
that we should deliver all to men of credit.' It will subsequently 
appear that the communion-plate belonging to the church of 
Peebles at this period was fortunately saved, and is still in use. 

With a notice of this extraordinary riot, disgraceful alike to 
the actors and to the authorities who permitted such excesses, 
we appropriately close the present section of our narrative. 


THE Revolution Settlement, with many valuable securities 
against arbitrary power, introduces us unfortunately to a 
new phase of religious dissension. Instead of the tests and 
oaths of office, which caused so much trouble in the reigns of 
Charles II. and his brother, we have the edict of the Scottish 
Estates, April 13, 1689, enjoining ministers, under penalties, to 
pray publicly for their majesties, William and Mary, and to read 
a proclamation dethroning King James. The enforcing of these 
obligations, as appears from the records, had much the same 
effect in ousting the settled parochial clergy, as that which 
ensued from the act establishing Episcopacy in 1662. If any 
one entertain doubts on the subject, he has only to consult the 
books of the Privy Council, which contain evidence, to a weari- 
some extent, of the extrusion of parish ministers for nonconfor- 
mity at the Revolution. Not many of the Peeblesshire ministers 
refused to change sides. Now, as on former occasions, they 
generally followed the lairds, quietly dropped the rule of a 
diocesan, prayed according to state injunctions, and kept their 
manses and livings. If inclined to think that this was some- 
what mean-spirited, we are charitably to recollect that the 
change was only one in a series which perhaps had not yet 
come to an end. For about a century, ecclesiastical polity 
in Scotland had undergone revolutions with a frequency 


which must have ceased to astonish. There were, doubtless, 
at this time people alive in Tweeddale, as elsewhere, who had 
seen about half-a-dozen of these overturns, and to them one 
more would almost seem a matter of course. Dr Pennecuik 
lets us know, in verse, that his father, the Laird of Newhall, 


' death at length had shuffled from the stage, 

The oldest ./Esculapius of our age,' 

possessed this happy amount of experience, for in the course of 
his long life, protracted to ' thrice thirty years,' 

' Five mighty kings, from his birth to his grave, 
The Caledonian sceptre swayed have ; 
Four times his eyes hath seen from cloak to gown, 
Prelate and presbyter turned upside down.' 

Peacefully as the transition from prelate to presbyter was now 
effected in Peeblesshire, there were a few ministers so conscien- 
tiously intractable as to risk deprivation rather than comply 
with the new requisitions. 

1689, Aug. 27. At the complaint of Richard Murray of 
Spitalhaugh and others, William Gray, minister of Linton, was 
ordered to appear to answer the charge of not praying for their 
majesties, William and Mary. Not appearing, an act of depri- 
vation is passed against him. P. C. R. 

Same date. At the complaint of John Noble and Alexander 
Russell, William Bullo, minister of Stobo, was deprived for not 
praying for their majesties. P. C. R. 

Sep. 17. At the complaint of James Geddes of Kirkurd, 
David Spence, minister, was deprived for not praying for their 
majesties. P. C. R. 

Same date. At the complaint of James Brown of Kilbucho, 
and others, William Alison, minister, was charged with not 
praying for their majesties, William and Mary, and of praying 
for King James. Alison, who was old and deaf, repelled the 
accusation, declared that he had prayed for their majesties ; and 
that as for King James, he had prayed only for his reformation. 
Absolved from the charge. P. C. R. 


Richard Brown, who had been deposed from Drummelzier 
five or six years before the Revolution, was now restored ; he, in 
turn, ousting James Simpson. George Forbes was ousted from 
Traquair in 1690. P. R. The case of David Thomson, minister 
of Manor, was peculiar. Suffering from the outrage on his person 
already mentioned, he was from infirmity obliged to resign his 
charge, leaving the parish for some time vacant. On the 6th of 
September 1689, he petitions the Privy Council for pecuniary relief. 
He says he had laboured twenty-five years in the service of the 
gospel, but was now disabled through the loss of his hearing, 
occasioned by wounds received in his head from the swords of 
bloody rebels, and other hardships, which caused him to lay 
down his charge, leaving himself and family of seven children 
without maintenance. Compassionating the petitioner, the 
Lords recommend Sir Patrick Murray to allow him a share of 
' the collections uplifted for the Irish and French Protestants.' 
P. C. R. 

In Peebles, the change from Episcopacy to Presbytery pro- 
duced one of those complicated cases of settlement which 
disfigure the history of the Scottish Church. John Hay, minister 
under the Episcopal system, died about the time of the Revo- 
lution, leaving an assistant or curate, Robert Knox, who was 
nominated by the Duke of Queensberry to the charge, Novem- 
ber 17, 1689, and unanimously accepted by the whole heritors, 
elders, and parishioners who were present when the letter of 
nomination was read. Others, however, were dissatisfied ; and 
in September 1690, a call, according to regular usage, was 
moderated for Mr William Veitch, who was admitted with the 
customary solemnities. Here, then, were two competing claim- 
ants for the charge. Knox's settlement was clearly irregular, 
but it was pleaded for him, that at the time of his appointment 
the church was in a state of disorganisation, and that this ought 
not to prevent him from being now installed in proper form. A 
litigation on the subject was carried on for several years, during 
which Veitch performed the duties of minister, but without legal 

stipend ; and his loss, including law expenses, amounted, we are 



told, to above ' ten thousand merks.' l To notions of legal right, 
the two claimants, with their respective abettors, probably added 
the bitterness of sectarian jealousy. Veitch had been a kind of 
martyr ; he had preached at conventicles, been chased by 
dragoons, taken refuge in Holland, lived for a time in penury 
in England, and in point of sufferings, deserved to end his days 
in peace at Peebles. He likewise possessed that universally 
admitted claim on public compassion a large family, who often 
in the days of persecution had been without bread. 2 Nor was he 
without high professional qualifications, if we may judge from 
the fact of his being appointed by the provincial synod of 
Lothian and Tweeddale, of which he was moderator, to preach 
two sermons before the High Commissioner to the General 
Assembly and the Estates of Parliament, in May i693. 3 

As an additional involvement in a case which is barely 
intelligible, Hay, the predecessor in the living, had executed a 
tack for five years of the teinds connected with the benefice, for 
behoof of his family, and prejudicial alike to his successor and 
the heritors. On the i8th of August 1690, the magistrates and 
town-council of Peebles, who were some way answerable for the 
proceeds, petition the Privy Council to know what they are to 
do. In a state of great perplexity, they say that they are beset 
on the one hand by William Veitch, who claims to be minister 
of Peebles, and on the other, by Lord William Douglas, the 
principal heritor. The end of the business is, that Douglas is 

M'Crie's Memoirs of William Veitch, p. 188. 

8 In a paper written by Veitch, he describes how, when living in great straits with 
his numerous family in Northumberland, they were all happily extricated by the 
arrival of a gift of provisions while he was trying to amuse away their hunger by 
playing a tune on the citern, a species of guitar. 'One evening,' he says, 'he, his 
wife and children, went to bed with a light supper, which made the children cry in the 
morning, when they awaked, for want of meat ; but there being none in the house, he 
bade them be still, and he would play them a spring upon the citern. He played and 
wept ; and they and their mother wept, they being in one room, and he and his wife 
in bed in another. But before he had done playing, one raps at the gate ; and it 
proved to be a servant-man, sent from a worthy and charitable lady, with a horse-load 
of meal, cheese, and beef. ' Remarkable Providences concerning Mr Harie Erskine, 
senf, an. 1718, by Mr W. Veitch: Wodraw MSS., Advocate? Library. 

8 These sermons were printed in a small volume, which is now prized by book- 
hunters for its extreme rarity. 


empowered to draw the teinds and keep an account of them till 
the case is regularly settled by the Judge Ordinary; the rights of 
all parties being in the meanwhile reserved. Veitch having to 
litigate this case as well as that connected with his settle- 
ment, it does not surprise us to be told, that after a scarcely 
legal incumbency of four years, he left Peebles with mingled 
feelings of sorrow and disgust, and afterwards accepted the 
living of Dumfries. 

The Hays, who contributed so materially to Veitch's troubles, 
had been long ministerially connected with the parish ; the more 
distinguished member of the family being Dr Theodore Hay, 
parson of Peebles in the latter part of the reign of Charles I. 
His son, John Hay, who appears, from an inscription on the 
church-plate, to have been 'rector of Peebles and Manor' in 
1684, died, as above stated, at the Revolution, leaving a son, 
Henry Hay, a teacher in Peebles, who kept a school in a vault 
amidst the decayed cloisters of the Cross Church. Educated 
for the church, Hay added preaching to his avocation as teacher, 
and on this account, as well as on the ground of personal irre- 
gularities, he unfortunately gave cause for some arbitrary pro- 
ceedings on the part of the magistrates and Presbytery. Looking 
to the late overturn, young Hay was now a dissenter, and if the 
retaining of his wretched school-room was a fault, or if his con- 
duct was otherwise open to challenge, it was enough that he 
should have been prosecuted and punished in regular course of 
law. The magistrates of Peebles, however, still assumed, often 
on very vaguely-supported charges, the right of summary expul- 
sion from the burgh ; while the Presbytery, incited by Veitch, 
whose own sufferings had not taught him the virtue of toleration, 
seems to have imagined that, by the Revolution Settlement, it 
possessed the right to preach and teach on the principles of a 
strict corporation monopoly, and accordingly insisted on the 
banishment of Hay from the town. Appearing by summons 
before the Presbytery, he explains that he kept the school under 
the protection of the Duke of Queensberry ; that it is a private 
school ; and that he declines to acknowledge the jurisdiction of 


the Presbytery in the matter. He is equally obstinate in not 
shewing his licence for preaching. In vindication of its rights, 
the Presbytery (April 19, 1693) puts on record, that it is legally 
entitled to prohibit all persons to teach schools till they be 
qualified to do so under its authority ; and, a month later, it 
appeals, in support of its claim, to the Privy Council. 

1693, May 22. Petition presented by Mr William Russell, 
moderator of the Presbytery of Peebles, and Mr William 
Veitch, minister of the kirk of Peebles, ' Shewing that Mr 
Henry Hay, a pretended preacher, doth keep a schooll in a 
vault belonging to the kirk of Peebles, after having been thrust 
out of the toune of Peebles by the magistrats thereof for his 
immoral and scandalous behaviour, and was for the same 
cause, and other scandells, also to show his warrand to preach, 
conveened before the said Presbytery. But nevertheless he did 
prove contumacious, declyning the entire authority thereof, for 
which he stands most justlie deposed by the said Presbytery 
both from the office of a preacher and a schoolmaster, and yet 
continues presumptuously to despyse their sentence and keep up 
the said school in high contempt and disobedience, as is clear by 
ane act of the Presbytery herewith produced.' The Lords are 
craved to award such assistance to the kirk as they have done in 
like cases, by causing- Mr Henry Hay to desist from his assumed 
offices, and to remove from the school, also to deliver up the 
registers of the vault, and ' ordaine him to be banished the toune 
and parish of Peebles.' Hay is ordered to compear to answer 
these charges on the sixth of June, and warrant is granted to 
cite witnesses. P. C. R. Neither on the day appointed, nor at 
a subsequent period, is there any further notice of the case, 
which, to judge from the Presbytery records, mainly depended 
on the decision of the Duke of Queensberry. 

How Lord William Douglas ultimately disposed of the teinds 
which he was authorised to collect, we need not stop to inquire. 
Assuming that justice was done to all parties, it is not out of 
place to mention that society had not yet got into the way of 
dealing with strict honesty in such matters. Ever since the 


Reformation, heritors had entertained loose notions respecting 
the church-property, of which, by law, they were the guardians 
and distributors. If, by any accident or manoeuvre, a minister was 
kept out of a parish for a few years, 'the vacant stipend,' as 
it was usually called, formed a singularly convenient fund for 
making roads, building bridges, or executing other public works, 
which would now be the proper subject of local assessment 
though we are bound to do the heritors this justice, that when 
they in this manner made away with church-property, it was 
always on the perfectly satisfactory ground of being put to ' pious 
uses.' As no use was more ' pious ' than that of building a bridge, 
in order to avert the possibility of people being drowned in crossing 
an impetuous river, so no excuse for laying hands on vacant 
stipends was more frequent or viewed with more complacent 
indulgence by the Lords of the Privy Council they themselves 
being heritors, and quite aware of what good could be done by 
judiciously expending a few hundred pounds to improve a 
neighbourhood. The church itself, however, was not disinclined 
to render aid in executing public works. We observe from the 
presbytery and parish records, that collections were often ordered 
to help people in distant quarters of the country to build bridges. 1 
On one occasion (i/io) the kirk-session of Glenholm petitions 
the patron and heritors of the parish ' to give some of the vacant 
stipends' to build a bridge across Holms Water ; in which request 
the presbytery afterwards concurs. Prepared by these explana- 
tions, we are able to appreciate the nature of the following 
petitions : 

1694, June 21. James Geddes of Kirkurd, on petition, is 
authorised by the Privy Council to uplift the vacant stipend of 
the parish, and to employ the same ' for repairing the kirk and 
putting a sclait roof thereon, and repairing the manse and kirk- 
yaird dyke, and other pious uses.' P. C. R. 

1 From 1659 to 1668, the Presbytery of Peebles ordered contributions to be made 
for the harbours of Dunbar, Saltpreston, and Whithorn ; Ancrum bridge, Tyne 
bridge at Haddington, Sanquhar bridge, and the bridges of Dee and Spittal ; also 
Jcdburgh kirk./ 1 . K. 


1695. After some proceedings before the Presbytery, a 
petition was presented by Lord William Douglas to the Lords of 
the Privy Council, November 5, ' Shewing that the petitioner 
is patron of the church and parish of Manor, which have been 
vacant these several years byegone, and the petitioner being 
resolved to apply the vacand stipend thereof for building ane 
bridge over the Water of Manor at the foot thereof, where 
formerly there was ane built and is now fallen, and which Water 
is oft times so great that it cannot be past, and which is not only 
upon the common mercat road for a great part of the parish, and 
the greatest part of the shire of Peebles, but likeways the patent 
road to and from England for the greatest part of the western 
shires of the kingdome, and the building thereof is a most 
necessar pious use.' The prayer of the petition being considered, 
Lord William Douglas receives authority to employ the vacant 
stipend as craved, for the building of the bridge ; Alexander 
Horsburgh, younger, of that Ilk, who has a factorage from his 
lordship, to proceed to collect the stipend, he giving caution to 
use the money only as specified. P. C. R. 

The bridge here referred to is that now over the small river 
Manor, a short way above its junction with the Tweed. The 
inscription on it bears that it was erected by Lord William 
Douglas, but leaves out the not unimportant fact, that the cost 
was defrayed from church-property. The representation made 
by his lordship is otherwise curious. We gather from it that 
there was previously a bridge across the Manor at the spot, 
which afforded a means of communication between the western 
shires of Scotland and England. The only explanation that 
can be given respecting a thoroughfare of this kind is, that there 
was at one time a much-used road from Clydesdale by way of 
Broughton, the ford across the Tweed above Drummelzier, 
thence through Manor parish and over the Swire to Peebles, 
from which the route would proceed in an easterly direction 
towards the English border. The want of bridges across the 
lower part of the Lyne, and a very imperfect road by Neidpath, 
would send the traffic by this circuitous and hilly, but only 


available route. It is therefore to be understood that the 
bridge across the Tweed at Peebles was not built wholly for 
local convenience, but in a great measure to give facility of 
transit between the west of Scotland and the north-eastern 
counties of England. 

The tolbooth erected in Peebles in 1605 had, in the course of 
time, become so insecure as to be unable to answer the purposes 
of a prison. This deficiency is heard of in connection with the 
case of a poor wandering woman who was taken up (July 
1689) on the charge of having murdered her infant by 
throwing it into Haystoun Burn. The magistrates in applying 
to the sheriff-depute, John Balfour of Kailzie, to have the 
supposed murderess removed and tried, state that they had to 
employ persons to keep watch, as the prison was not strong 
enough to secure her. By order of the Privy Council, the poor 
creature was sent to Edinburgh, and after lying in prison three 
years, was tried by the Court of Justiciary in June 1692, and 
sentenced to be hanged. 

Certain accounts alleged to be due by government to the 
inhabitants of Peebles and the tenants of Whitfield, near Linton, 
for articles furnished to the royal forces formerly stationed in 
the shire, are brought under the notice of the Privy Council 
April 20, 1696. The first group of accounts consists of those 
due by ' the deceast Lord Angus his regiment to the inhabitants 
of Peebles.' The other accounts are those due by ' the deceast 
Lord Cardross his regiment of dragoons, and the Lord Elphing- 
stone his troupe of horse, to the tenants of Whitfield, at the toune 
of Linton in Tweeddale.' The Lords find the greater part of the 
accounts to be due and properly vouched, and ordain payment 
to be made of ' thrie score eleven pounds two shillings and 
eight pennies to the inhabitants of Peebles, and of the soum of 
eight pounds eighteen shillings Scots to the tenants of Whitfield' 
the money to be taken out of the pole-money, a fund devoted 
to liquidate debts of this nature. P. C. R. 

At the close of the 1 7th and beginning of the i8th century, 
the parish records shew signs of an increasingly active church- 


discipline, in which elders perform the part of modern police- 

1691, May 8. It is recommended to the different elders to search in 
their quarters if any have carried themselves scandalously in time of the 
fair, that either they be punished accordingly, or banished the town. It 
is also ordered that a deacon and an elder, with the beadle, go through 
the town after the afternoon-sermon, at 6 o'clock, and search all 
suspicious alehouses for drunkards Bailie Shiel to be deacon for tl>e 
first round. 1699. Elspeth Gall summoned for going up the Old 
Town on Sunday with a burden on her back. Aug. 13. The minister 

informed the session that , writer [the name is given], had been 

drunk on Thursday last, and conducted himself in an abusive manner. 
The delinquent being summoned, confessed his fault, and promised 
amendment with all humility. K. S. R., Peebles. 1698. Nov. The 
elders, along with the kirk-officer, are appointed to scour the town for 
vaguers on the Lord's Day. Any one found drinking in an alehouse 
after 9 P.M., to be censured. K. S. 1?., Broughton. 1704. The people 
warned against Penny-Weddings, because of the abuses they lead to. 
K, S. R., Glenholm. 1694. Mary Mitchel, residing in Bold, brought 
before the session on the accusation of having burnt her Bible, which 
she confesses having done in a freak, and is ordered to stand several 
times on the stool of repentance. Mary, who seems to have been an 
indifferent character, declares she does not care how often she makes 
her appearance before the congregation ; she stands three times, the 
parish having borrowed the Peebles sackcloth for the purpose. 1701. 
The minister warns the people against drinking in change-houses, and 
giving harbourage to vagabond carlines who had come into the parish. 
1736. A man -is dilated for profaning the Lord's Day, by graithing 
[harnessing] his horse. K. S. R., Traquair. 

So numerous are the entries of this kind in the parish records 
in the early part of the eighteenth century, that evidently the 
kirk-sessions, reinvigorated by the recent religious changes, had 
attained to something like the power which they possessed 
during the Cromwellian era. 

At this period, the convention of royal burghs was a more 
powerful body than it is at present ; for besides forming a 
bond of union for mutual assistance and protection, it exercised 
a considerable control over the proceedings of the burghs, 
separately. An example of this species of supervision occurs in 


regard to Peebles in 1692. The magistrates and town-clerk 
appeared by summons before two commissioners appointed to 
make certain inquiries respecting the financial condition of the 
burgh, its trade, and other matters. From the replies which 
were made, we gather the following particulars. 

The common good or general revenue of Peebles amounts on an 
average of the last five years to ^1722, 6s. Scots money ; and the debt 
due by the town by bonds amounts to ^6706, i2S, &d., money afore- 
said. The town has only two mortifications, one of 200 merks, and the 
other of 100 merks; the annual produce of these being paid to the 
schoolmaster for maintaining poor scholars at the grammar-school, and 
also for keeping Tweed bridge in repair. The official expenses of the 
burgh amount to 1?, 13^. 4^. Scots, annually. The burgh has no 
foreign trade, and ' the inland trade is very mean and inconsiderable ; ' 
the inhabitants 'vend and consume about three hogsheads yearly of 
French wines, and about half .a tun of sack and brandy; and their 
consumption of malt will extend to about six or seven hundred bolls 
yearly.' ' The burgh pays 100 merks yearly out of the common good 
to the minister ; and pays to the schoolmaster, precentor, and all other 
public servants out of the common good the sum of ^445 Scots.' * All 
their public works are upholden out of the common good, and they 
are brought to much expenses yearly in maintaining five bridges, 
one whereof hath five arches over Tweed ; ' their debt, however, 
continues much as has been stated. Their houses are mostly inhabited 
by their respective heritors, who pay no town tax ; all the other houses 
will not amount to above ^100 yearly, and 'they have no stranger 
inhabitants amongst them.' C. JR. The commissioners made no 
inquiry concerning the extensive commons which had been gifted to 
the town, and no notice is taken of them. 

On the 7th of July 1696, the convention had under consideration a 
petition from the town-council of Peebles, representing that they and 
their predecessors have had the privilege 'to seize all light weights, short 
ell-wands, and other insufficient goods in all the fairs and public mercats 
within the shire of Teviotdale ; yet, of late they were impeded by the 
Earl of Traquair.' The convention recommended the burghs of Cupar, 
Dumbarton, and Lochmaben to commune with Lord Traquair anent 
the matter, and to use their utmost endeavour to accommodate the same, 
and report to next convention. C. R. 

Next year, we see no entry in the books of the convention on the 
above weighty subject, but notice is taken of a petition from Peebles 
concerning its bridges, tolbooth, and schoolhouse, which are represented 


to be in need of repair, and aid is required for the purpose. A com- 
mittee being appointed to visit the burgh, brings up its report respecting 
the state of these buildings, in 1698. They are said to be in a bad 
condition, and the convention orders its agent to make payment to the 
burgh of Peebles 'of the soume of 400 merks Scots money, to be 
employed towards repairing the said bridges, tolbooth, and schoolhouse, 
at the sight and advice of the burghs of Jedburgh, Selkirk, and Lauder.' 
In the same convention, several other burghs received similar grants for 
like purposes. C. R. At this and a later period, the annual contribu- 
tion of Peebles to the funds of the convention was fixed at gs. C. R. 

At the Union, the records of the Privy Council of Scotland 
are closed, and no longer can we look for assistance to these 
valuable chronicles of domestic events. Unfortunately, no aid 
can be immediately obtained from the records of the burgh, for 
they are missing from 1678 till 1714, and we are accordingly 
without the means of knowing what occurred in Peebles at 
the passing of the Act of Union, which, though constituting the 
basis of the prosperity now universally enjoyed, was unpopular 
throughout the country. The benefits of this great measure 
were, however, to be remote, while certain damages it was to 
inflict were immediate. Hitherto, Peebles, like other towns, had 
been dignified by mansions forming the winter residence of 
county gentry ; the more conspicuous of these ' lodgings/ as 
they were termed, being occupied by the Earls of March, the 
Naesmyths of Posso, and the Williamsons of Cardrona, of 
which last edifice we offer a representation on next page. The 
Union, by drawing families of rank to London, and opening 
up prospects of foreign employment, was therefore destructive 
of the old-fashioned system of living in country towns, which 
were now to be left chiefly to the tradesmen and artisans 
required by the neighbourhood. Yet, it may be doubted 
if the Union was any more than an accidental aggravation 
of a prevailing tendency. The rural districts were beginning 
in a small way to be improved, and although the country 
at large was overrun with beggars and vagrants, there were 
no longer either border forays or deadly family feuds to 
deter the more timid class of proprietors from building houses 



and living habitually on their estates. With Cromwell, the 
fighting-times had expired, for all that had since taken place 
were but insurrectionary tumults, confined mainly to the south- 
western shires, and even these disturbances were allayed by the 

It would not be strange if the people of Peebles looked with 
apprehension to any legislative measure which was likely to 
stimulate the wish to desert the old burgh. The town had been 
in its palmiest state of enjoyment shortly after the Restoration. 
There were frequent balls and assemblies, graced by the aristocracy 
of the county. The thatched dwellings of a past era were giving 

Fig. 27. Town-mansion of Williamson of Cardrona, now an Inn. 

way to slated houses, built with a degree of taste that puts to 
shame the tame unornamented edifices of the eighteenth century. 
Until now, Peebles had the honour of sending a commissioner 
to the Scottish parliament, instead of which it was to be reduced 
to the position of joining with Lanark, Linlithgow, and 
Selkirk in naming a representative to the House of Commons ; 
while the shire was to have one member in place of two. We 
can fancy that these deteriorations of ancient privileges were 
viewed with as little complacency as the general scheme of the 
Union ; though, through the influence of the Duke of Queens- 
berry, the measure probably excited no outward demonstrations 


of hostility. A key to the state of popular feeling on the subject 
may perhaps be found in the votes of the town representative. 
To the last Scottish parliament, sitting at Edinburgh, 1706-7, 
the commissioner for the burgh was Archibald Shiels, who 
consistently voted throughout against all the articles of the 
treaty of Union, and against the measure as a whole. The 
commissioners for the shire were William Morrison of Preston- 
grange, and Alexander Horsburgh of that Ilk, who voted for 
nearly all the articles, and also for the passing of the act. To 
the first parliament of Great Britain, assembled at Westminster, 
the district of burghs to which Peebles belonged sent Mungo 
Graham of Gorthy as representative, while at the same time the 
county deputed William Morrison of Prestongrange, one of its 
former members. 

The accession of the Hanover family in 1714 was received with 
so much placidity in Peeblesshire, that we hear of only one 
dissentient, Mr William Russell, minister of Stobo. Russell's 
history has some droll features. Son of the Laird of Kingseat, 
he, in early life, figures as a member of the troop of horse 
convened in Tweeddale by royal authority, 1685, to suppress 
rebellion in the west a corps which, if we are to believe the 
panegyric of Pennecuik, performed prodigies of valour, being 

4 All of them proof 'gainst desperate alarms, 

Train'd up by old Dalyell in feats of arms. 

Young Kingseat was a Tory trooper then, 
Now Stobo stipend makes him Whig again. ' 

Not altogether a Whig, as is shewn by the Presbytery Records ; 
for though sobered down and transformed into a minister, Rus- 
sell's old cavalier spirit gets roused on being required to pray for 
' His Majesty, King George.' Without absolutely appearing dis- 
loyal, he contrived for some years to pray concerning the king in 
a shuffling fashion, which passed for what the law demanded ; but 
the trick being at length discovered, he was summoned before the 
Presbytery to explain his very extraordinary conduct. In answer 
to the charge, Russell said that he always prayed for King 


George, and that though it had not been in express words, it 
was in such a way that his congregation could not fail to under- 
stand that King George was meant. This explanation being 
considered unsatisfactory, he was suspended for two months. 
Mr Stephen Paton having gone to Stobo, in obedience to an 
order of the Synod, to intimate the deposition, he was encountered 
by a mob of women, who told him that no one should preach 
there but their minister. There now ensues a succession of efforts 
on the part of the Presbytery to bring the enraged parishioners 
to reason, but without avail. The church-door is kept locked, 
the bell cannot be rung, and ministers deputed to preach can 
do so only in the churchyard. At last, when things are at the 
worst, the old trooper discreetly relents, comes under some sort 
of obedience, prays distinctly for King George, and is repon.e.$, 
which makes everything end comfortably. '. ;:-,; ,",.,,. ,hoorl 

Some events connected with the burgh which occurred ; afteY 
this period, may be grouped together as follows, along with 
casual remarks. 

1725. This year, the burgh purchased Frank's Croft, a pretty piece of 
ground situated on a height overlooking the Tweed, so called, probably, 
from having at one time belonged to John Frank, town-treasurer^ The 
purchase-money was two thousand merks [^in, 2$. $J.. sterling], rrt- 
B. R. In making this desirable acquisition, Peebles must have, improved 
somewhat since 1713, when the Convention of Royal Burghs , granted it 
'ane hundred pounds Scots money, of present supply, in respect of the 
low condition of the said burgh.' C. R. '.:,iJi uii.i :,il) 

The town continues to be frequented and troubled by gipsies, beggars, 
and vagabonds of all sorts; and there is a fresh attempt to get rjd.iOf 
them. 1728, Jan. 14. The magistrates and council, considering, tijat 
several of the heritors and inhabitants within this burgh have, of late 
years, contrair to several acts of council, taken upon them to sett houses, 
and given settled residence to several cripples, sturdy beggars, and other 
vagrants, persons who can give no account of themselves; some of 
which have taken upon them to make use of counterfeit testimonials 
from the ministers and elders of this paroch ; and others of them going 
together without legal marriage, living promiscuously, and thereby giving 
bad examples in this place ; neither can they give any reasonable 
account of their way of living, but by villainy and oppression in the 
countries where they travel. Wherefore, they strictly prohibit and 


discharge any of the heritors or inhabitants within this burgh to sett 
any houses hereafter to any vagrant people, under the pain of ten pounds 
Scots, toties quoties [for each offence] ; and they declare that all who have 
formerly sett shall be punished, conform to the said acts of council, 
without mitigation ; and ordains thir presents to be intimate by tuck of 
drum, that none may pretend ignorance. B, R. This edict necessarily 
proved unavailing. In proportion as houses were deserted by a 
respectable class of inhabitants, there was more accommodation for 
paupers a result painfully observable in all Scottish towns, where the 
buildings, from their extreme durability, long outlast their original 
purpose, and, presenting a ready and loathsome harbourage, obviously 
encourage the growth of an abject and dangerous population. 

1728, Nov. 19. The magistrates and council, considering that Mar- 
garet Wilson was banished this burgh for stealing clothes from her 
mother and others, and selling them for drink, and that she has returned, 
using the same bad practices, and last Sabbath was guilty of drunken- 
ness, cursing and abusing her mother, which is hurtful to the neighbour- 
hood, and not to be suffered ; wherefore they banish her this burgh in 
time coming, and discharge her to be seen therein hereafter, certifying 
her if she be, she will be scourged and brunt [branded with a hot iron]. 
B. R. This practice of banishing from the town proved an exceedingly 
unwise method of punishment, for it only caused the offenders to seek 
refuge in other towns, from which being expelled in turn, they at 
length became reckless and incorrigible malefactors. We see by the 
records of several parishes, that worthless characters, who had from 
time to time been banished from Peebles, are ordered to be ' expelled 
the bounds.' 

The venerable fallacy of ' keeping everything to ourselves,' continues 
to be cherished as a rule of trade. 1726, May 2. The council discharge 
the inhabitants to sell any muck except to burgesses, and no one is on 
any account to sell the same to country people, to the great prejudice of 
the people of the town. B. R, Pride is still taken in the commons. 
1727, May 22. The haill burgesses and inhabitants, horse and foot, 
are ordained to attend the magistrates and council on the first Monday 
of June in their best equipages, for riding the commonties of Eshiels, 
Glentress, and Hamiltone. B. R. An immense gathering of the 
lieges takes place accordingly on the day named, the provost and 
magistrates on horseback in front, preceded by the town-piper, who 
does his best on the occasion. 

Hitherto, the inhabitants had depended for water on pump-wells, or 
the streams which environed the town, and they could scarcely fail to 
be flattered with the announcement, that a gentleman in Selkirkshire 
took so warm an interest in their affairs, that he proposed to be at the 


cost of leading in water for a public fountain. 1728, Nov. 28. John 
Murray of Philiphaugh, Esq., out of regard, love, and favour for Peebles, 
gives the sum of a hundred pounds sterling money, for bringing in the 
water of St Mungo's Well to the burgh. B. R. 1729, June 16. The 
magistrates and council agree with John Scott, plumber in Edinburgh, 
to bring in the water of St Mungo's Well in pipes to a part of the burgh 
conveniently situated for a public well. B. R. The place pitched on 
was in the High Street, opposite the town-mansion of the Earl of March, 
and the fountain here established, deriving its name from the original, 
on the face of the Venlaw, was long known as St Mungo's Well. Why 
Murray of Philiphaugh should have taken such an extreme interest in 
Peebles, may seem surprising. Perhaps the circumstance is explained 
by the fact, that he had lately been appointed member for the district 
of burghs, and looked forward to being reappointed, which he was in 


Of the prizes to be run for at the Beltane festival, there are numerous 
entries in the town's books. In 1728, the first plate to be run for is to 
be 'a china bowl, value fifteen guineas;' and the second 'a quaigh, or 
drinking-cup, value four guineas.' In 1731, the first prize is to be a 
piece of silver plate, value fifteen pounds sterling ; the second prize, a 
plate worth five pounds both to be run for in heats, and no horses to 
be debarred. B. R, The entries, of which these are specimens, are all 
followed with an order ' to advertise the plates timeously in the Edin- 
burgh prints.' 1750, June 30. The gentlemen of the county having 
agreed to give a purse of thirty guineas to be run for on the first week 
of August, the town resolves to give a purse of fifteen guineas to be run 
for at the same time.' B. R. 

The town gets out of temper about the scandalous state of the church- 
yard. 1733, Sept 8. The magistrates and council, considering the 
great expense the town and inhabitants had been at in building a stone 
and lime dyke round the old church-yard, for defending their monuments 
upon their dead ; and that Mr John Hay, minister, had this summer 
put his horses in the said church-yard, whereby several of their monu- 
ments are wronged. Wherefore, the council do discharge the said 
Mr John Hay to put any of his horses, kine, or sheep in their burial- 
place hereafter, or any other persons whatsoever, under the penalty of 
ten pounds Scots ; and in the meantime allow him to cut or shear the 
grass for the use of his beasts. And the council grants warrant to the 
treasurer to employ tradesmen to repair and mend the church-yard yett 
and dyke, and to snedd the young trees growing therein. B. R. 

1734, May 13. The council appoint Provost Gibson to be their 
commissioner in electing a member of parliament for the district of 
burghs, and recommend him to vote for the Honourable James 


Carmichael, son to the Earl of Hyndford. 1735, Sept. 10. The provost 
reported to the council that the Honourable James Carmichael was 
duly elected member, and that, in token of his gratitude and thankfulness 
for the favour shewn and done him, and as a mark of his kindness 
and regard, he had delivered into the hands of the provost a handsome 
compliment and donation of one hundred and fifty pounds sterling for 
the use of the burgh of Peebles; whereupon all with one voice declared 
that the said donation should be employed in paying the town debts. 

1735, Aug. 5. Proposals are made to the council by Alexander Sheriff 
for Charles Cockburn, advocate, as to the establishing of a woollen manu- 
factory in Peebles. The yarn proposed is to be very coarse and round, 
near the double of covering yarn. And Mr Sheriff is content for a trial 
to give good, careful, diligent spinsters four shillings Scots [4^. sterling] 
per day, from six in the morning till eight at night ; and he is content to 
give spinsters who are not so able (now when harvest is approaching, 
and women will be scarce) what the farmers shall think fit, conform to 
their work. Secondly, after trial, Mr Sheriff is content when it shall be 
sufficiently known what a stone of this wool may be spun for, to give out 
stones of wool to their own houses, both to strong and weak, and take a 
sufficient time for it ; but no time is to be lost. Mr Sheriff is so well 
satisfied with the situation of this place, that he inclines rather to sett up 
here than in any other, if he can be near as well served and encou- 
raged. The council having heard the above proposals read, they declare 
they are well satisfied and pleased therewith, and appoint certain of 
their number to search their respective quarters for persons that may be 
fit for spinning the wool, and give a list of them to the provost, that he 
may send for them, and acquaint them of the encouragement they shall 
have, that they may go to Mr Sheriff, and he will give them a pattern 
how to spin the said wool, and give them other proper directions, that 
so good an undertaking may prove successful and beneficial to the 
present undertakers, and also redound to the advantage of the inhabitants 
and tradesmen of the place. B. R. This pompous flourish came to 
nothing, and so likewise, in 1740, did an attempt of the Scottish 
Trustees for Manufactures to plant a Woollen Factory at the foot of the 
green. From this latter abortive effort, is derived the term ' Factory 
Stream,' at this part of the Tweed. Peebles had hitherto some small 
domestic manufactures of woollens, and also a waulk-mill, the expansion 
of which, by proper enterprise and encouragement, would have been the 
more successful line of policy. 

Aug. 1 8. William Forrester, for his pains in ringing the five and 
eight hours' bell since February last, to get half-a-crown, and he is to 
ring her till Michaelmas. B. R. 


The ' handsome compliment and donation ' from the Honourable 
James Carmichael, in acknowledgment of being returned member, 
having been put to the excellent purpose of paying off debt, leaves the 
finances in still an unsatisfactory condition. 1735, Nov. 24. The 
treasurer represents to the council that he needs money to sustain 
the town's credit, in consequence of the outlays for ' reparations ; ' the 
council find the representations reasonable, and that there is 'a plain 
necessity for borrowing five hundred merks.' B. R. 

1738, April 7. Following the practice in Edinburgh, complaints 
betwixt burgess and burgess shall be heard by the bailies every Wed- 
nesday and Friday, at ringing of the court-bell. B. R. 

In January 1740, an exceedingly severe frost, which extended over 
the northern part of Europe, was followed by a failure of the crops. In 
Scotland, there was a most distressing dearth, leading to riots in Edin- 
burgh and other places. The people of Peebles suffered in common 
with others. 1740, July 16. The council considering the scarcity and 
dearth of the meal, they, for relief of the poor, resolve to buy Barns's 
two years farm-meal which he has by him, at twenty pounds Scots per 
load, and ordain their treasurer to sell it out to the poor, not above two 
pecks at once to one person, at eleven shillings per peck. B. R. 1741, 
Feb. 13. Considering that there had been and still is a great dearth, 
the magistrates and council see it their duty to buy victual, and sell it at 
cost-price to the poor, for which purpose they agree to borrow a 
thousand merks Scots from Walter Laidlaw, tenant in Willanslee. 
B. R. 1744, June 22. The council consider it proper to denounce the 
pernicious practice of smuggling French brandy and tea, and resolve 
that, whatsoever burgess brings these smuggled wares into the town, 
shall lose his freedom. B, R. 

Peebles had not been troubled by the rebellion of 1715, but in 
1 745 it received a visit from a detachment of the forces of Prince 
Charles Edward on the route to England. While the Prince 
proceeded with the main division of the army by way of Lauder 
and Kelso, a second party assumed a middle course by Gala- 
shiels, Selkirk, and Hawick, and the western division, under 
command of Lord George Murray, took the road from Edinburgh 
to Peebles, intending to proceed to Carlisle by Moffat. This 
division, which had charge of the cannon and most of the baggage, 
arrived at Peebles on the evening of Saturday, the 2d of 
November. 'The sun was setting as the first lines devolved 
from the hills which environ the place on every side, and throwing 



back a thousand threatening glances from the arms of the moving 
band, caused alarm among the peaceful townsmen, who had only 
heard enough about the insurrection and its agents to make 
them fear the worst from the visit Contrary to expectation, the 
mountaineers neither attempted to cut the throats nor to violate 
the property of the inhabitants. They let it be known, wherever 
they went, that they required certain acts of obedience on 
the part of the people ; and that if these were not willingly 
rendered, they had the will, as they possessed the power, of 
using force. The leader demanded payment of the cess, on pain 
of military execution ; and little parties, calling upon various 
householders within and without the town, requested such 
supplies of provisions as could be properly spared, with the 
alternative of having their houses given up to plunder. But 
scarcely any incivility was ever shewn in the outset.' 1 According 
to local tradition, the Highlanders encamped in a field west of 
Hay Lodge, and on the Sunday, during their stay, caused the 
town-mills to be set agoing to produce meal for their march. 
After spending a few days in the place, they departed by way of 
Tweedsmuir to Moffat ; certain horses and carts belonging to 
David Grieve, tenant in Jedderfield, being pressed into their 
service to help them on the way. 

The gentlemen of the shire and burgh authorities, made a 
somewhat tardy movement to raise men for the protection of the 

1746, Jan. 8. Provost Forrester acquainted the council that the 
gentlemen of the shire met yesterday, and entered into a resolution to 
raise as many men as possible for the defence of the country against the 
present rebellion, and are to pay each man eightpence per day that 
is not able to subsist or maintain himself. And for raising men without 
loss of time, they have wrote to the respective ministers of this shire 
to converse with their parochiners, and advise them to enlist as volun- 
teers for defence of their native country, and to be here Friday next. 
He thought proper that the council should go into the like resolution 
for raising men in this burgh. The council unanimously approve of the 
same, and they empower and authorise the magistrates forthwith to 

1 History of the Rebellion 0/1745-6. By R. Chambers. 


publish, by tuck of drum, to all the inhabitants within the burgh, that, as 
they are hopeful, they will readily take arms for the defence of this 
place and country, they will repair to the magistrates, and enlist as 
volunteers, and sign an association for that end ; and such as they judge 
are not in ability to maintain themselves, they shall have eightpence per 
day from their mustering. Whoever have arms, to bring them with 
them; and what arms that shall be wanting, the council recommend 
it to the magistrates to procure them in the best manner they can. 

At this juncture, Peeblesshire, like other counties in Scotland, 
was still under the jurisdiction of high and deputy sheriffs, whose 
offices were almost hereditary in certain families, irrespective of 
the qualification for positions of such trust and importance. The 
high-sheriff was usually a nobleman, in whom the office was 
purely honorary, and the real sheriff was the deputy, but his duty 
consisted chiefly in executing writs and exacting the feudal land- 
dues for the crown, in which latter capacity he was a species of 
tax-collector. We have seen how imperfectly these irresponsible 
sheriffs executed their trust, and it was time that they should be 
set aside. Grouped along with heritable regalities and other 
varieties of old jurisdictions remaining in the possession of private 
individuals, these offices were now by a wise policy swept away as 
incompatible with the safety of the community. No reform that 
could be named was of more value than this ; and as the full 
complement of the act of Union, was cheaply purchased at the 
price paid by the country ; for the entire sum awarded for the 
heritable jurisdictions in Scotland was not more than about 
.152,000. Of this sum, Peeblesshire had but a small share. 
Lord William Douglas, Earl of March, claimed for the shire of 
Tweeddale 4000, and as lord of regality and justiciary of New- 
lands and Linton, ^1500. He was allowed for the sheriffdom 
3200, and for the regality of Newlands and Linton, ^"218, 4^. $d. 
Dickson of Kilbucho claimed for privilege of regality in his 
barony of Kilbucho, as part of the regality of Dalkeith, 1000; 
and the curators of Murray of Stanhope claimed, as bailie and 
justiciar of Stobo, formerly connected with the archbishopric of 
Glasgow, 1000. Both claims were rejected, probably on the 


ground, that regalities could not be split and claimed for in two 

According to the act of 1747 (20 Geo. II. c. 53), hereditary 
sheriffships were to cease on the 2 5th of March 1748. The office 
of sheriff was then to merge in the crown, which was empowered 
to appoint a sheriff-depute for each county, who was to be an 
advocate of at least three years' standing ; and the depute was 
authorised to appoint a substitute, as a resident county magistrate. 
We thus glance at arrangements which initiated a new era in 
every part of Scotland. In Peeblesshire, there ensues a marked 
social change. Men skilled in the law, and exempt from local 
prejudices, hold regular courts for civil and criminal procedure ; 
the lairds drop into their proper position of ordinary subjects 
amenable to the judge ordinary ; and justices of peace exercise 
in future a subordinate class of duties. The first sheriff-depute 
under the act, 1747, was Mr James Montgomery, a young and 
successful advocate, second son of Mr William Montgomery of 
Macbie Hill, from whom may be dated the rise of the Mont- 
gomeries in the county. 

Whatever was the number of men raised in the town and 
county in 1746, their services never came into use, and the 
rebellion passed off, as far as Peeblesshire was concerned, with 
nothing more than some damage to two of the county gentry. 
The greatest sufferer, as regards material interests, was Sir David 
Murray of Stanhope, who unhappily attached himself to the 
cause of the Stewarts. Taken prisoner, he was sentenced to 
death, but was discharged from custody on condition of trans- 
porting himself for life. His estates were also sequestrated, 
and were sold, by authority of the Court of Session, in 1767. 
Stanhope was purchased by Mr James Montgomery, who, from 
being sheriff of Peeblesshire, rose to be Lord Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer of Scotland, and to have his long and fortunate career 
crowned by a baronetcy. The property is now in possession 
of his grandson. The other person who had reason to feel the 
error into which he had fallen by his accession to the rebellion, 
was Murray of Broughton, who acted as secretary to Prince 



Charles, and to save life and property, became the apostate, 
whom men of all shades of opinion held justly in detestation. 

From shortly after the middle of the eighteenth century, a 
marked change takes place in the public affairs of Peeblesshire. 
Old usages begin to disappear, and new fashions come into 
vogue ; the county gets opened up by roads ; fields are enclosed ; 
gentlemen's seats are erected ; plantations decorate the hitherto 
bare landscape ; and besides a high-class farming, manufac- 
turing industry takes root and flourishes the last stage of all 
being the perforation of the county by railways, which, them- 
selves a revolution, offer a strange contrast with the times when 
the first Duke of Queensberry visited Peebles in his state- 
carriage, preceded by two running footmen. 


ACCORDING to Pennecuik, rural affairs in Tweeddale had 
made a marked advance in 1715. In the northern 
division of the county, portions of heathy morass had been 
drained, reducing, he says, ' many of those black and barren 
heaths to fertility and a fairer complexion.' The mosses, 
however, were not considered to be altogether objectionable ; for 
as the inhabitants depended chiefly on peat for fuel, the circum- 
stance of being near a peat-moss was advertised as a recom- 
mendation in selling estates. At this period, the produce of the 
arable lands consisted of ' rough bear and oats, few pease, and 
less wheat.' Artificial grasses had been sown to an inconsiderable 
extent ; but green crops were unknown, and it was the practice 
to kill and salt cattle at the beginning of winter, for want of any 
sufficient means of feeding them. The country was unenclosed 
and bare. ' The greatest want,' says Pennecuik, ' is timber. 
Little planting is to be seen in Tweeddale, except it be some 
few bushes of trees about the houses of the gentry ; and not one 
wood worth naming in all this open and windy country. So that 
this unhappy want of foresight in their forefathers, necessitates 
them to be obliged to the sheriffdom of Lanrick for most part of 
the timber necessary for their houses and husbandry. Yet there 
begins to appear amongst the young nobility and gentry of this 
place, a general genius for planting ; which, in a few years, will 


turn to the ornament as well as the advantage of this cold and 
naked country, where all sorts of forest-trees will prosper well 
enough upon due pains and care, as it is credible this has been 
a woody country of old, whereof there remain to this day many 
probable appearances.' As regards trees, it should be added that, 
at this time, there must have been, in various places, thriving 
sycamores and ashes ; for, of the last in particular, there are now 
many fine specimens, evidently the growth of centuries. Birch, 
too, must have existed in considerable patches, as is evidenced 
by numerous remains, and also from the name ' Birks' being not 
uncommon as the name of a place. 

Pennecuik gives the rural population credit for being industrious 
and careful, 'yet something wilful, stubborn, and tenacious of 
old customs. There are amongst them, that will not suffer the 
wrack to be taken out of their land, because (say they) it keeps 
the corn warm, nor sow their bear-seed, be the season wet or 
dry, till the first week of May be over, which they call Rnnchie 
Week, nor plant trees or hedges, for wronging the undergrowth, 
and sheltering the birds of the air to destroy their corn ; neither 
will they trench and ditch a piece of useless boggie ground, for 
fear of the loss of five or six feet of grass, for a far greater 
increase ; which, however, with a custom they have of overlaying 
the ground, which they term full plenishing, makes their cattle 
generally lean, little, and give a mean price in a market.' 

About the period of the Union, the pasturing of sheep had 
already begun to be a considerable branch of husbandry. In 
the work of Blaew, 1654, Tweeddale, it will be remembered, 
is renowned for its fine sheep-pasturage, and Pennecuik dwells 
complacently on the same theme. The county, he says, 'is 
stored with such numbers of sheep, that in the Lintoun mercats, 
which are kept every Wednesday during the months of June 
and July, there have frequently been seen 9000 in the customer's 
roll, and most of all these sold and vented in one day.' He 
adds, apparently from Blaew: 'The sheep of this country are 
but small, yet very sweet and delicious, and live to a greater 
age than elsewhere, by reason of the salubrity of the air, and 


wholesome dry feeding ; and are, indeed, the greatest merchant- 
commodity that brings money to this place, with their product 
of lambs, wool, skins, butter, and cheese.' 

As early as 1730, the county was startled by the extensive 
draining and planting operations of Archibald, Earl of Islay, 
afterwards third Duke of Argyle, on a tract of mossy land which 
he appropriately named the Whim. About the same period, the 
adjoining property of La Mancha was subjected to a variety of 
improvements by Thomas, eighth Earl of Dundonald ; while in 
the parish of Stobo, considerable improvements were effected by 
Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, who, between 1732 and 
1740, wrote some useful tracts on agriculture. Immediately 
afterwards, a taste for enclosing and beautifying grounds was 
extended and confirmed by Sir James Naesmyth of Dawick, Mr 
Burnett of Barns, Dr James Hay of Haystoun, Mr Carmichael of 
Skirling, and other proprietors. Armstrong, writing in 177$. 
refers to 'the spirit of improvement lately diffused' in the 
county, but finds cause for blame in the aggregation of small 
farms, to which 'may be attributed the gradual depopulation, 
and frequent emigration to a more unfavourable clime ; for the 
smaller tenant, feeling the weight of an increasing rent, with the 
advanced price of domestics, is necessitated, unwillingly, to seek 
relief in the bosom of a distant desart, or submit to the galling 
yoke of servitude amongst those individuals who deprived him of 
an hereditary consequence.' From this complaint, we learn that 
husbandry, on a scale calculated to bring out the full resources 
of the district, had fairly begun, greatly to the advantage of 
all parties, the public included. The short-sighted views of 
Armstrong perhaps met with some response, but the inhabitants 
were too peacefully disposed to offer any distinct remonstrance 
against a plainly demonstrable public improvement ; and gradu- 
ally, though at first by slow stages, lands were thrown into farms 
of a size worth the attention of men possessing the requisite skill 
and capital to work them. 

The progress which the rural affairs of the county made in 
the latter part of the eighteenth century, is described in the 


well-known work of the Rev. Charles Findlater, 1802. While 
admitting the good that had been done by several public-spirited 
proprietors to stimulate improvement, by giving leases of proper 
duration, Findlater mentions that the advanced or modern 
husbandry was introduced by the example of professional 
farmers. Dairy husbandry, he says, was first carried on advan- 
tageously by Mr Thomas Stevenson, on the farm of Wester 
Deanshouses. Next, in the list of improvers was ' Mr George 
Dalziel, innkeeper, first at the village of Linton, and afterwards 
at Noblehouse ; he was the first farmer that sowed turnip in the 
open fields ; I believe he had a field of perhaps two or three 
acres at Linton, so early as 1763 or 1764. I believe he might 
also be the first who cultivated potatoes on a large scale, by the 
plough. Dalziel made trials both of turnip and artificial grasses ; 
I believe, however, that neither were at all adopted into a regular 
system of rotation of cropping, till introduced in this form by 
M'Dougal.' This last-named person is, in reality, the father of 
the new husbandry in Tweeddale. Findlater does not hesitate 
to ascribe subsequent improvements ' to the example set by Mr 
James M'Dougal, farmer in the village of Linton, originally 
from the neighbourhood of Kelso, and trained under the cele- 
brated Dawson at Frogden. Being possessed of a small capital, 
but his ideas of improving farming; inferring a much more liberal 
outlay of capital upon equal terms of land, than what corres- 
ponded with received usages, he entered upon lease to a farm at 
Linton, in the year 1778.' Here, M'Dougal initiated the Norfolk 
rotation of cropping, with plentiful liming and manuring ; and 
the success which, to the surprise of every one, attended his 
operations, at length caused the neighbouring farmers to become 
proselytes to his system. It will not escape notice that all the 
improvements just referred to, were in the northern section of the 
county, in the parishes of Linton and Newlands, which thus took 
the lead of districts more immediately in the valley of the 

At the time when Findlater wrote, agriculture had made such 
progress, that the old system of small farms was dying out 


Only a few specimens remained to enable an estimate to be 
made of the comparatively miserable style of living with which 
such a system was identified. The farmhouse was only a low 
thatched cottage, consisting of seldom more than two apartments 
with a clay floor ; and no divisions by partitions except those 
effected by the close wooden bedsteads. The adjoining buildings 
for cows and horses were also thatched, and usually in a rude 
dilapidated condition ; while all about the doors was a scene of 
dirt and confusion. Those labourers who did not sit at table 
with the farmer, occupied thatched huts of a still smaller size, 
containing two close beds to form a cross partition, which, says 
Findlater, 'divided the space occupied by the family from a 
space of four feet from the gable at which you enter, where 
stands the cow behind one of the beds, with her tail to the door 
of the house.' Such were the ordinary buildings on nearly all 
the farms in Peeblesshire, till the era of improvement last 
century examples of which are now to be seen only in some of 
the West Highlands, and other unimproved parts of Scotland. 

The class of farm-buildings which superseded these ancient 
tenements were regularly built with stone and lime, and slated. 
The dwelling of the farmer consisted of a house of two stories, 
having a front with three windows above and two below, with a 
door in the middle. Entering opposite the stair, on one hand 
was the kitchen, and on the other the sitting-room of the family ; 
above, were several small apartments. For economy of space, 
the sitting-room had a bed concealed by doors a very common 
provision in old Peeblesshire houses, whether in the country or 
town. Influenced by modern notions, the farmer, with his 
family, now sat apart from the servants ; the mistress of the 
establishment, however, continuing to take a considerable hand 
in churning, making butter and cheese, and other departments of 
household economy. As regards style of living, there was no 
great advance ; plain fare, with few luxuries, being still the 
general rule. Gigs being not yet in fashion, except among the 
gentry, the farmer and his wife still rode double on horseback, 
when going to church, or to town on a market-day. In every 


farmhouse, the small spinning-wheel for flax, and the larger 
wheel for wool, were articles in regular use by all the females 
in the establishment ; the produce being transformed into 
linens, blankets, and plaids, by one of the weavers of ' customer- 
work ' in Peebles. 

As elsewhere in Scotland, the grain was anciently winnowed 
on airy knolls known as sheeling laws or hills hence ' Shilling- 
law,' as a name of several places but this practice was generally 
laid aside in Tweeddale about 1750, or thirteen years after 
fanners had been invented by Andrew Craigie, a retired and 
ingenious farmer in Roxburghshire. The earliest notice we have 
of fanners in Peeblesshire is in a deed, purporting to be a mutual 
agreement between nine farmers in the parish of Newlands, to 
pay for and employ ' a pair of mill-fanners,' procured by 'James 
Brydine, tenant in Flemington Mill.' This curious private docu- 
ment is dated January 17, 1746. The fanners cost 30 Scots, or 
2, los. sterling ; and the circumstance of nine farmers uniting 
to pay out this trifling sum, affords evidence of the still poor 
condition of the Tweeddale tenantry at the middle of the 
eighteenth century. 

The flail, except in a humble way, disappeared previous to 
1802, when, according to Findlater, there were eighteen thrash- 
ing-mills going by water, and twenty-four driven by two horses 
each. At this time, he says, there were thirteen proprietors in the 
county drawing an annual rent of about 100 a. year ; twenty- 
four, from ;ioo to .400; fifteen, from 400 to .1000; and eight, 
from ;iooo to 4000 making a total of sixty proprietors, exclu- 
sive of those drawing a smaller class of rents. Altogether, the 
gross annual rental of the county was, he adds, about 26,000 ; 
but this did not express the entire value exacted, for some farmers 
paid partly in kain fowls, and partly in the carriage of articles, 
commutable at a money value; and from the greater number, 
multures were taken at the mills to which tenants were thirled to 
bring their grain to be ground. This odious practice of thirlage, 
however, gradually disappeared early in the present century ; 
an act of parliament having been passed in 1799, authorising 


all farmers to commute their thirlage. Of the money rental 
above stated, by far the larger proportion was from pastoral 
farms ; spread over the whole county, it amounted to consider* 
ably under half-a-crown per English acre. 

The second ortransitionary stage of rural affairs in Tweeddale 
now depicted, was marked by an exceptional peculiarity of 
tenure, which is allowed to have had a singularly stimulating 
effect The extensive Neidpath estates, held in strict entail, were 
let by the Earl of March, about 1788, on leases for fifty-seven 
years, being three times nineteen, the usual duration. The 
tenants had the farms at a small rent, in consideration of giving 
fines or grassums at entry. Insured leases for so long a period, 
at an insignificant annual rent, a spirited style of improvement 
immediately commenced. The tenants, feeling themselves almost 
in the position of proprietors, built houses, cleared the land of 
stones, erected dykes as enclosures, planted trees for shelter, and 
in point of husbandry, took the lead in the county. Of those 
who signalised themselves in this manner, Findlater points to 
Mr James Murray, in Newlands parish ; Mr Gray, in Lyne ; Mr 
Charles Alexander, in Easter Happrew, Stobo ; and Mr Robert 
Symington, in Edston, parish of Peebles. The long leases of the 
Neidpath estates were ultimately reduced, about 1821, by the 
House of Lords, as contrary to the rights of the next heir of 
entail ; but adequate compensation was made to the lessees. 

In the present day, rural management in Tweeddale has 
reached a third or highly advanced stage, corresponding to what 
has been attained in the other improved parts of Scotland ; the 
main difference being that, as the county is hilly, and well adapted 
for pasture, the husbandry is generally of a mixed kind, embracing 
sheep and arable farming an arrangement which evokes close 
and varied attention, and possesses the advantage of placing the 
farmer, in a great measure, above casual rises and falls in the 
market ; for when agricultural produce is doivn, sheep and wool 
may be up, or vice versd. 

Much of the land in Peeblesshire being a light gravelly soil, or 
lying at slopes which admit of rapid drainage, it is a common 


remark that the county can receive a good deal of rain without 
serious damage to the agriculturist, which is fortunate ; for with 
so many hills, showery weather is common ; and, according to 
meteorological observation, the quantity of rain which ordinarily 
falls is about 29 inches per annum. There is, however, not a 
little stiff clay-land in the county, and in some places mossy soils, 
which could dispense with the moisture required so copiously in 
other quarters. 

We have already alluded to the first and second stage of farm- 
house architecture in Peeblesshire, and it only remains for us 
to say, that the third stage now reached places the dwellings 
of the farmers on a level with the best class of villas in the neigh- 
bourhood of large towns. Nor is it unreasonable that such should 
generally be the case, for, in most instances, the modern farmer 
is a person of superior attainments and tastes one who, entering 
on his lease with a capital of several thousand pounds, is entitled 
to the respectful consideration of his landlord. The farm- 
steadings of the more improved class, usually consist of a quad- 
rangular range of buildings, stone and slated ; comprehending 
stables, cow-houses, feeding-yards and sheds, thrashing-mill, 
barn, and other offices. The sheaves of grain, on being collected 
from the fields, are built into round stacks in the open air, in a 
yard adjoining the thrashing-mill. Some steadings excel in their 
feeding-sheds and straw-yards, where oxen are fattened for the 
butcher during winter, and an abundance of manure produced for 
the fields next to be subjected to the plough. At a moderate 
distance from the steadings, is the row of hinds' houses, consisting 
ordinarily of four or five cottages. On some properties, these 
dwellings are still on a far from satisfactory scale of accommoda- 
tion ; but on others they are sufficient in point of size and general 

The size of farms is very various. Rents are generally from 
250 to 800 ; but there are some instances of farms exceeding 
the last-named rent, and even reaching 1000 and upwards. 
There are few now remaining of the very small farms which were 
once so numerous, although here and there, in every part of the 


county, one may still be found ; and in the north-western part, 
they are more numerous than elsewhere, whilst there also the 
rents of many of the farms are between 100 and 250. 

The soil not being very rich, the rent of land is seldom more 
than 32J. or 33^. per (imperial) acre. Fields in the immediate 
vicinity of a town or village are, however, on account of local 
convenience, sometimes let at a rent as high as 4 per acre. 
The land used exclusively for sheep-pasture is generally of very 
different value in different parts of the same farm, owing to 
differences of soil, altitude, inclination, and other circumstances. 
There is much land in the county which is not worth a shilling 
an acre of annual rent. Sheep-pastures are not generally let 
according to a calculation based on the number of acres, but 
rather on the number of sheep which the farm is supposed 
capable of feeding ; the kind of sheep being also taken into 
account, and their probable value or productiveness, so that the 
rent varies from $s. to ios., and even 12s. per sheep ; as the 
produce in wool, mutton, and lamb is much greater for each 
sheep on good land in a good situation, than on poor land in a 
high and cold situation. 

Land is now generally let at a fixed money-rent, although the 
old practice of letting it at a rent varying according to the fiar 
price of grain still partially prevails. Farms are, however, 
seldom let entirely at a grain-rent. In some instances, the rent 
of the arable land is a certain number of bolls of grain, either 
oats or barley, whilst, for the pastoral part of the farm, a fixed 
money-rent is paid. 

Leases are generally for nineteen years ; rarely now for twenty- 
one, or for any other number of years, excepting as regards 
sheep-farms, which, in many cases, are let for periods of from 
nine to fifteen years. Very little land is let otherwise than on 
lease for a term of years, except fields let singly for pasture, 
every year, and with regard to which no permanent occupancy 
is contemplated. Here, as in other parts of Scotland, sub-letting 
is not allowed. In many cases, the landlord pays for drainage 
(the tenant supplying the carriage of tiles and other materials), 


fencing, and other permanent improvements, the tenant some- 
times paying interest till the end of his lease on the money 
so expended. Generally, the landlord gives the farm, with 
farmhouse and offices, to the tenant in good condition, and 
the tenant is bound to give it back in good condition at the 
expiration of the lease, allowance being only made for the 
natural wear and decay of such a period. In cases where a 
farm newly improved, requires to be put in a proper condition 
for an incoming tenant, it is not unusual for the landlord to 
expend as much as 2000 on a new steading and other things 
essentially necessary ; and it is only where some particular 
improvements seem likely to remunerate the tenant during the 
currency of his lease, that he makes them at his own expense. 
The expense of drainage is sometimes shared by the landlord 
and tenant, the proportions varying, and being stipulated in the 
lease. The late Earl of Traquair paid for the cutting of the 
drains on his estate and for the drain-tiles ; the tenants brought 
the tiles to the spot, and filled the drains, the landlord's share 
being thus much heavier than that of the tenant. As regards 
cropping, though in practice there is scarcely any restriction, it 
is usually stipulated that there shall be a rotation of five years : 
(l.) oats, after lea (pasture) ; (2.) potatoes, turnips, or other green 
crop ; (3.) barley, oats, or wheat ; (4.) grass, cut for hay, or used 
as pasture ; (5.) grass used as pasture. High land is very 
generally kept three years in crop, and three or more years in 
grass ; low land in the valleys or dales, three years in crop, and 
two in grass. 

The introduction of guano and other new manures has wrought 
a great change in the farming of this county. This has, indeed, 
been the case generally in all districts of Scotland in which 
agriculture is in a flourishing condition, but nowhere more 
conspicuously than in Peeblesshire ; as the steepness of many 
of the hills prevented the carting of dung to lands which were 
thus unfitted for the plough, but which became arable so soon 
as light and easily portable manures were known. The conse- 
quence has been, that fields have been enclosed and brought 


under cultivation in what was formerly hill-pasture, and these 
fields, even at very considerable altitudes, have produced good 
crops ; whilst, when sown down with grasses and clover, they 
become far more valuable in pasture than before, insomuch that, 
where formerly not more than one sheep per acre was kept, 
two, or even three, are now kept, and each of these yielding 
in the various kinds of produce much more than the one 
sheep did before. But this great increase of produce is far 
from being all clear gain to the farmer or the landlord, 
as the sheep now kept require expensive winter-feeding; 
whilst the sheep formerly kept were left to depend entirely, 
except during long continued snow-storms, on the hill-pasture. 
There are farms in the county in which two-thirds of the present 
arable land have been recently reclaimed from hill-pasture, and 
this process of improvement is rapidly going on. The land thus 
rendered capable of supporting a much increased number of 
sheep, requires to be again broken up and manured after a few 
years. It would be interesting to know the quantity of guano 
and the other new manures now used in the county, but there 
are no means of ascertaining it. How great it is, may in 
some measure be inferred from the fact, that one farmer near 
Peebles, occupying a large farm, but not the very largest, 
spends about 300 a year in the purchase of these manures. 
Lime, also, especially at the commencement of leases, continues 
to be applied in proper quantities, wherever it appears desirable. 

In late years, drains have been cut much deeper than 
formerly ; their depth is now seldom, if ever, less than three 
feet, often three and a-half or four feet ; and drain-tiles are 
almost always used instead of stones. Hill-land, on being 
brought under cultivation, is always drained to the depth of at 
least three feet. Much of the land formerly drained has been 
drained anew, to reach a greater depth. The drainage of land in 
Peeblesshire, although begun so long ago, is still very far from 
being completed, and is now making rapid progress from year 
to year. 

Furrow-drainage was introduced at the same time as in other 


parts of Scotland, with the same greatly beneficial results, and 
became pretty general about twenty-five years ago. Sheep-drains 
have also been very generally cut on the hills. It may perhaps 
be necessary to explain to those not much acquainted with 
pastoral districts, that these are open drains, generally about 
fifteen inches deep, and eighteen inches wide, branching from a 
main channel, and intended to dry the surface of mountain- 
pastures where it is supposed that a more expensive system 
of drainage would not be remunerative. They have proved 
eminently useful in improving the pasture, and preventing rot 
and other diseases of sheep. These drains require to be renewed 
after intervals of from eight to twelve years. 

The old practice of cropping arable land until the soil was 
exhausted, and then laying it down in grass, has long ago 
been superseded by other methods. Unproductive fallowing, 
generally practised to a comparatively recent date, is no longer 
indispensable, and has given place to the cultivation of green 
crops. The farmer was formerly obliged, for want of manure, 
to leave a considerable portion of his land every year in fallow, 
or ploughed, but without a crop, which he now generally sows 
with turnips, availing himself of the new manures ; a great 
portion of the turnips being consumed on the ground by sheep, 
and the land thus again manured so as to be ready for another 
crop. Flakes (wooden hurdles) and nets are employed for 
movable fences, so that the sheep are confined to a small portion 
of the field at a time, and are not permitted to roam over the 
whole of it, in which case more would be destroyed than eaten. 
The dung and refuse of the turnips are sometimes covered with 
earth by means of a grubber drawn by two horses, immediately 
after the sheep are removed. This is an easy process on light, 
but much more difficult on heavy, soils. It may be doubted if 
the covering in general takes place so soon as it would, if the 
farmers fully appreciated the loss sustained in the ammoniacal 
portion of the dung whilst exposed to the air, and the benefit of 
the vegetable refuse rotting in the soil rather than in the air. 

Some further attention on this point, and still more to the too 



frequent waste of liquid manure in farm-yards, seems still to be 

In consequence of the extension of turnip-cultivation on the 
hills, farms which were formerly stocked every year with black- 
faced wether lambs, are now stocked with Cheviot or with black- 
faced ewes ; and many sheep from these hill-farms, after being 
brought to lower grounds, and fed on turnips for a time, are 
sent to market at two years old. The cast ewes, also, of hill- 
farms that is, those which it is not thought expedient to keep 
any longer for stock are conveyed to lower grounds, to produce 
lambs before they themselves go to the butcher ; rams of the 
Leicester breed being in this case generally preferred. Half-bred 
lambs are brought to market when fourteen or fifteen months 
old, when, if properly cared for during winter, they weigh from 
fourteen to twenty pounds per quarter. 

In consequence of the disastrous losses sustained by the sheep- 
farmers in the winter of 1859-1860, some have returned to the 
hardier black-faced breed, who had previously stocked their 
farms with Cheviots. In the inclement season referred to, where 
whins (furze or gorse) grew on the farms, the sheep did not 
suffer as elsewhere ; the young shoots of the whin affording them 
food which is at all times acceptable, but of which the value was 
then particularly felt by the farmer. 

Oxen are chiefly of the Ayrshire and short-horn breeds, or 
crosses more or less nearly allied to the short-horn. Where dairy 
produce is the object, which is generally sweet or fresh butter 
and skimmed -milk cheese, Ayrshire cows are preferred ; but for 
stock rearing, either for grazing or feeding, which is now in 
greater favour, the short-horn crosses are more frequently kept. 
The dairy management is not generally equal to that of many 
other parts of the country. A dairy at Winkston alone deserves 
special commendation. 

The farm-horses are almost all of the Clydesdale breed ; 
and many are reared in the county. 

Swine are very generally kept by farmers, but no particular 
care is taken respecting their feeding. Many swine are also kept 


by farm- servants, cottagers, and villagers, but in sties which are 
in almost all cases too small, nor is their cleanliness sufficiently 
attended to. No case within our knowledge, however, has 
occurred of measly pork. Within these few years, a large bacon 
and ham-curing establishment has been carried on successfully 
at Broughton, for an account of which we refer to our notice of 
that parish. 

All kinds of poultry common in Scotland are kept in Peebles- 
shire, and find a ready sale to cadgers, who with carts regularly 
traverse the county, buying up various articles of rural produce, 
and bringing things in return from Edinburgh. The poultry, 
however, is seldom properly fed, and in this department of 
husbandry there is great room for improvement. The annual 
prize exhibitions of poultry at Peebles, recently set on foot, may 
perhaps effect a remedy. 

Bees are kept in almost all parts of the county, but chiefly in 
the lower parts, whence their skeps (hives) are removed to the 
higher grounds in autumn, when the heath is in flower. The 
result is very fine heather-honey, which readily finds a market. 

The principal corn-crops are barley and oats. Wheat is grown 
in the richer low grounds, but it is considered a precarious crop, 
and not in favour with the farmers. Barley is extensively grown ; 
and the common English variety is very generally preferred. 
Chevalier barley, though superior in quality, and longer in the 
straw, has the disadvantage of being ten days longer in 
ripening ; it is also reckoned to be more severe on the ground, 
and more injurious to the clovers which have been sown- with it. 
Many varieties of oats are cultivated, including the Early Angus, 
Sandy, Barbachlaw, Berlie, Hopeton, Tartarian, Potato, and 
Providence oats, a recently introduced and favourite kind. Rye 
is scarcely known as a crop. 

Beans are not extensively cultivated, and chiefly for the 
feeding of the farm-horses, not for sale. The kind generally 
preferred is the common Horse Bean, to which both soil 
and climate seem very suitable. Pease are less cultivated than 
they were half a century ago, partly owing to the more extensive 


cultivation of turnips, and the almost universal use of wheaten, 
in place of pease, bread ; and partly to the great increase of 
wood-pigeons, which render their cultivation in many places 

The grass principally sown is ryegrass, although mixed grass- 
seeds are also sown for pasture. Perennial ryegrass is generally 
preferred, and in the lower districts, Italian ryegrass is now also 
common. A mixture of perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass 
is now indeed more frequent in the lower districts than either of 
them singly. But in the upper or western parts of the county, 
the production of ryegrass seed for sale is to some extent a 
branch of rural economy, and in this case, no mixture of kinds is 
admitted. Timothy Grass is sometimes sown, but chiefly with 
other grasses, for permanent pasture. 

Red clover was formerly sown to a greater extent than now. 
On some farms, it does not grow well, perhaps from having been 
too frequently sown on the same land, which is then said by 
farmers to be * clover-sick.' The kind of clover called Cowgrass 
(Zigzag Clover, or Meadow Clover, Trifolium medium) is often 
sown in its stead, being coarser indeed, but also more hardy, and 
springing again more freely after having been eaten down by 
cattle. White or Dutch Clover, and Alsike Clover, are very 
generally sown for pasture ; the former has been long in use, the 
latter is of recent introduction. Yellow Clover more correctly 
Medick (Medicago lupulina), is also sown, particularly where the 
soil is somewhat damp. The seeds of grasses and clovers are 
sown along with the cereal crop which they are to follow. 

The turnip crop is of the greatest importance on almost every 
Peeblesshire farm, a few of the highest alone excepted, and even 
to these, the cultivation of turnips is now in course of extension. 
Many varieties are cultivated ; of which the White Globe and 
Grey Stone may be mentioned as large soft varieties, fit only for 
early use before the seventy of winter has begun, but valued for 
their productiveness. The Aberdeen Yellow, and the Purple- 
topped Swedish, are the kinds generally preferred for winter and 
spring use. As an instance of the fitness of the soil for the 


growth of this useful root, it may be mentioned, that on the farm 
of Drummelzier Haugh, a single acre produced, in 1852, no less 
than fifty tons weight, the manure being a mixture of dissolved 
bones and guano. 

Mangold-wurzel has been sometimes grown, but the climate 
of even the earliest parts of Scotland appears to be little adapted 
for its growth, and a full or even profitable crop, as compared 
with turnips, has been rarely obtained under the most favourable 
conditions. The whole system of rural economy has for a long 
time been so wrought up with turnip cultivation, and adapted to 
it, that only a very strong reason of apparent advantage will 
induce the prudent farmer to make any change as to this crop. 
The apprehension of a great and general failure of the turnip, 
through the prevalence of anbury or finger-and-toe, has led many 
farmers, however, to look with some favour on any proposal of a 
probable substitute. For the last two or three years, however, 
turnips in this county have not suffered so much from finger-and- 
toe as formerly. The cause of this difference is utterly unknown. 
Some farms are much more liable to this disease of turnips than 

Potatoes are generally, but not very extensively, cultivated ; 
less extensively in most parts of the county than they were 
twenty years ago, and throughout a considerable period before 
the years of the potato failure, of which 1846 was the worst. On 
some farms, however, in the west of the county, potatoes form a 
greater part of the crop than elsewhere. The acknowledged risk 
of loss makes farmers in general unwilling to plant them exten- 
sively, notwithstanding the large profits sometimes obtained 
by a good crop. The varieties in general cultivation before 
1846 are now unknown, and more recent ones have come in their 
place, of which those called Prince Regent, Irish Rock, and 
Orkney Reds are at present in highest repute. But many farmers 
think it best to cultivate several kinds, and new kinds are very 
willingly tried. 

Flax is now very rarely sown, although in former times, within 
the memory of persons still living, it was a common crop ; being 


cultivated, however, only on a small scale, and often in patches 
rather than in fields. 

The cultivation of oats and of turnips is carried higher on the 
hills than that of any other crop, except the grasses and clovers 
sown for pasture. Good crops of oats are obtained at an eleva- 
tion of 800 to 1 200 feet above the sea-level, of which instances 
are presented at La Mancha, at Linton, and on the slopes of the 
Lee Pen, over the village of Innerleithen. 

The fences employed in Peeblesshire are, for the most part, 
dry-stone dykes, built in a neat and durable manner, about four 
feet six inches high. These walls have several advantages : 
they do not occupy much space ; they are completed at once at 
a moderate cost ; the materials for them are near at hand ; and 
they yield considerable shelter. When placed along the sides 
of plantations, they receive no injury from the drip of trees. 
Latterly, wire-fences have come into use, but they have the 
disadvantage of yielding no shelter. In many places, hawthorn- 
hedges are employed ; but they seldom thrive with that equality 
which is pleasing to the eye. Parts here and there die out, 
and requiring to be replaced with fresh thorn or beech plants, 
and guarded by palings, this species of fence is often costly. 
On some properties which abound in hedges, a skilled hedger 
is employed to keep them in order, and clear out the ditches at 
their sides. 

As regards planting, which was introduced by several improvers 
in the course of last century, it has in many places been over- 
done, far more land being covered with trees than was at all 
desirable for shelter, ornament, or ultimate profit. So great has 
been this mistake, that until the railways afforded means of 
transit, well-grown native larch was nearly valueless did not 
pay for the cutting and attention required to be bestowed upon 
it. Now that it can be readily despatched to a market, steam- 
moved saw-mills have in several places been set up, and great 
quantities of wood are in the course of being cut, and sold for 
the making of boxes and barrels, and for other purposes. The 
largest establishment of this kind is that set on foot at Peebles 


by Sir Adam Hay, who thus has brought into profitable use the 
extensive woods planted by his father, the late Sir John Hay, in 
the neighbourhood of the town. 

The most improved kinds of agricultural implements are 
generally used in Peeblesshire. Almost every farm is now 
provided with a thrashing-machine, a few of the small farms 
excepted ; so that the sound of the flail, once so common, is 
rarely heard. The thrashing-machines are in most cases driven 
by water, sometimes by horses ; but the steam-engine has begun 
to be introduced. Drills for sowing corn broad-cast are used on 
many farms, but are found less suitable for steep than for level 
ground, as on steep ground they sow less regularly, and deposit the 
grain somewhat to one side. It is hardly necessary to say that 
turnip drills have been long in universal use. Reaping-machines 
have begun to be introduced, and seem likely soon to be common. 
In these and some other respects, therefore, the farmers of Peebles- 
shire appear to be desirous to keep abreast of their neighbours 
in Mid-Lothian. Nevertheless, it is curious to note that they are 
still not altogether free from the charge of being ' stubborn, 
and tenacious of old customs.' A remarkable instance of this 
occurred in the case of the railway from Peebles to Edinburgh, 
which was in operation several years before the farmers generally 
took advantage of the speedy and economical means of convey- 
ance for cattle, sheep, and grain which it presented. Having at 
length, though slowly, discovered that railway transit is cheapest, 
it is now embraced as an important auxiliary in all departments 
of farming. 

An advance in the wages and condition generally of all classes 
of farm-servants has in some measure kept pace with an advance 
in prices and other improvements. On this subject, the Rev. 
William Welsh, in his account of the parish of Drummelzier, 
I793, 1 gives some useful particulars. He says : ' Servants' wages 
are high ; a man 6 per annum ; a maid-servant, 2 for the 
summer half-year, and about 2$s. for winter. The wages they 
receive enable families to live in a very different manner, indeed, 

1 Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 154. 


from the poor in England, as they buy no luxuries. Provisions 
are double the price they were forty years ago. A lamb costs 
$s. or 6s. ; a sheep, if fat, us. or \2s. ; a fowl, is. ; butter, lod. 
per Ib. ; cheese, 6s. per stone.' We may compare the wages 
which were thought high in 1793 with those paid in 1863. 
Farm-servants, in regular employment for the whole year, are 
in almost all cases paid in money, and, if married, partly in 
kind. Hinds or married ploughmen receive about .13 to 1$ 
in money ; with a house and garden ; a cow's ' keep ' through- 
out the whole year (the farmer sometimes also providing the 
cow, but this is not common) ; sixty-five stones of oatmeal ; 
one thousand yards of drill of potatoes, which the farmer plants, 
manures, and cultivates as to all the horse-work, the hind pro- 
viding the seed ; the carting of four tons of coals, the hind paying 
for the coals ; and a month's food during harvest. Some farmers 
give from 18 to 20 or 22, and do not give a cow's keep. 
The grieve, or hind who has charge of the farm-work in absence 
of the farmer, receives a few pounds more than the rest, some- 
times ^24 in money. 

Young men living in the farmer's house receive ;i8 or 20 of 
wages. The wages of boys are very various ; often ^3 or 4 per 
half-year. Female servants employed in farm-work receive 8 
to ;io a year often $ for the summer, and 4. for the 
winter half-year and live in the farmer's house. The practice 
of lodging unmarried ploughmen and other farm-servants in 
bothies, does not exist in Peeblesshire ; there probably not being 
a bothy in the whole county. There exists, however, to a small 
extent, what is designated the Bondager System, or, at least, a 
variety of it. It consists in the hind, or married farm-servant, 
being obliged by the farmer to keep, as a boarder in his cottage, 
a female outworker or bondager. According to this arrange- 
ment, the farmer agrees to pay the hind is., or thereabouts, a 
day on account of the worker, leaving the hind to make such 
bargain with her as he thinks proper. We need hardly say, that, 
on moral and social grounds, the system here faintly described, 
is seriously objectionable. 


Shepherds are sometimes paid pretty much as hinds are, 
receiving about 20 a year in money, a house and garden, cow's 
keep, oatmeal, and all the other things already mentioned in the 
case of hinds. But more generally, the shepherd, at least if 
having the care of sheep on hill-pastures, has no money-wage, 
but is allowed the pasturage of a certain number of sheep. 
These are called the shepherd's pack, and feed along with the 
flock of his master, of which it is thus his own interest to be very 
careful. They are distinguished by a particular mark, and all 
the produce of them belongs to the shepherd. The number 
varies on different farms from twenty to fifty, according to the 
kind of sheep kept, the quality of the pasture, and the probable 
value of the produce. Shepherds generally prefer this mode of 
remuneration to fixed wages in money, and their condition is 
generally superior to that of hinds. When a shepherd is not able 
to buy sheep for himself, the farmer sometimes assigns him a 
certain number, of which he enjoys the produce. When he is able, 
however, the shepherd usually buys the sheep of his predecessor. 
A shepherd is not entitled to dispose of his pack except to his 
successor, or to the farmer, as it is very inconvenient to have 
strange sheep introduced into a flock. The valuing of the 
shepherd's pack is therefore a common occurrence when a new 
shepherd is appointed. But this is done as seldom as possible, 
and many shepherds spend the greater part of their lives in the 
same fording, daily traversing, even in old age, the same hills with 
which they have been familiarised from their youth, and seeing 
not only a succession of farmers but of lairds, as the property 
passes from one to another, either by inheritance or by sale. 
Unmarried shepherds, living in the farmer's house, sometimes 
receive fixed wages in money, but sometimes they also have a 

Linton market, spoken of by Pennecuik, no longer exists. 
It ceased in 1856 ; one which was more convenient having been 
then instituted at Lanark. The great fair at Melrose on the I2th, 
and that at Lockerbie on 1 3th August, are the principal markets 
for Cheviot and ' half-bred ' lambs ; the two fairs of Lanark, in 


the same month, for lambs of the black-faced breed. Another 
Melrose fair, in the end of autumn, is the great market for the 
sale of Cheviot ewes, wethers, and small lambs. Oxen are 
generally purchased at Hallow-fair and Dalkeith, but oxen are 
not brought in considerable numbers into Peeblesshire. Cheviot 
and half-bred lambs are now sold to some extent in Peebles, at 
monthly sales established some years since. Wool is disposed of 
to some extent at Peebles wool-fair in July, which was formerly, 
however, of greater importance than it is now, the greater part 
of the wool produced in Peeblesshire being sent to the wool-sales 
established in Edinburgh. In Peebles, a prize cattle-show takes 
place annually, which is believed to have a beneficial effect ; 
besides which, many persons in the county compete at the great 
annual exhibitions of the Highland and Agricultural Society. 

Most of the garden-crops raised in other parts of Scotland are 
common also in Peeblesshire ; and elevated as the district is 
above the level of the sea, shrubs and flowers of various 
attractive kinds grow in perfection. The casual frosts in spring 
are unfortunately often fatal to the fruit-blossoms, by which 
apples and pears are a precarious crop. Gooseberries and 
strawberries thrive in perfection. The Horticultural Societies 
established some years ago in the county have tended to 
improve gardening generally, and are well encouraged. 

The advance in the value of heritable property in Peebles- 
shire is strikingly manifest in the Statutory Valuation Rolls. In 
1657, the valued annual rental was only 4328, 2s. lod. sterling. 
According to the valuation made in virtue of two recent acts, 
17 and 18 Viet cap. 91, and 24 and 25 Viet. cap. 83, the rental 
of the county (burgh and railways excluded), in 1863, was 
90,927, 8j. 3^1 This new roll comprehended 41 estates, yielding 
from 100 to 500 per annum; 35 from 500 to 1000; 16 
from 1000 to 2000; and 8 from 2000 upwards, of which I 
was 4952, i 5740, and I about 12,000 total 100, irre- 
spective of properties yielding less than ;ioo per annum. 1 This 

1 A number of the proprietors of every class, have either estates or other sfturces of 
revenue, out of the county. 


statement shews a considerable advance on that made by 
Findlater, who mentions, on what authority we know not, that 
in 1802 the annual gross rental of the county was 26,000. 
Supposing that to be correct, the rental of heritable property 
is nearly quadrupled within the present century; and it is an 
indubitable fact, that it is about twenty times greater than it 
was two hundred years ago. The recent valuation roll, however, 
gives an inadequate idea of the outlay by proprietors, or the 
absolute market value of estates ; for in many instances vast 
sums have been expended on mansions, pleasure-grounds, and 
permanent improvements, which cannot be represented by any 
return in rental. Except in the case of purely pastoral farms, 
which are kept at little expense, the money return for an invest- 
ment on land in this, as in perhaps other counties in Scotland, is 
usually not more than about 2\ per cent. ; notwithstanding which, 
estates are for the most part bought with avidity such being the 
prevalent and increasing desire to acquire land. 

Peeblesshire, as formerly stated, can shew few old families. 
Among the hundred above enumerated, we can scarcely reckon 
six that reach back to the seventeenth century or earlier, and not 
more than fifteen of the present families appear to have been 
territorially distinguished in the county a century ago. In short, 
with few exceptions, which are diminishing in number, the land 
proprietory is of comparatively recent date, and in the present or 
immediately preceding generation, less or more owes its position 
to success in professional pursuits a circumstance which has 
had an important bearing on the general interests of the shire ; 
for it is in a great measure owing to the liberal expenditure of 
successive new proprietors, that the marvellous improvements of 
the last hundred years have been effected. From our subsequent 
topographical accounts, it will be perceived that much of the 
land is owned by persons who reside wholly, or at least a part of 
the year, in the county ; through which means Peeblesshire 
presents as good a specimen of a social fabric constituted of land- 
proprietors, tenant-farmers, and professional and labouring classes, 
all in due proportion, as can anywhere be found in Great Britain. 


Long inert, except as regards rural improvement, the county 
has latterly shewn a marked advance in manufacturing industry, 
chiefly through the enterprise and capital of strangers from 
Selkirk and Roxburgh shires, by whom large sums have been 
expended in the establishment of mills fitted up with the most 
improved kinds of machinery. The hitherto waste water-power 
of the county has thus been brought into use, leaving, however, 
infinitely more to be still appropriated. After repeated failures, 
the woollen manufacture took root first at Innerleithen, and 
more recently it sprung up with great vigour at Walker Burn, in 
the same parish. A manufacture of a similar kind has also now 
been successfully set on foot in Peebles. The value of the goods 
produced at the various woollen manufactories throughout the 
county is, by competent authorities, computed to be at present 
about 220,000 per annum ; but the amount is increasing so 
rapidly, that any immediate estimate is of little moment. 
Australian or foreign wool is chiefly used ; at one mill, devoted 
to the manufacture of blankets, Cheviot or home-grown wool 
is employed. Besides the above manufactories, a wholesale 
depot of the Tweed class of goods has lately been established 
on a large scale at Peebles, by Walter Thorburn, a native of 
Selkirkshire, to whose energy and enterprise the town has been 
in various ways indebted. Including the transactions at this 
last-mentioned establishment, it may be safely averred that the 
woollen trade in Peeblesshire is in amount now about three 
times the valued rental of the county. Some details on the 
subject are presented under the head INNERLEITHEN. 

According to Returns prepared under the direction of the Highland 
and Agricultural Society of Scotland, in 1855, and presented to the 
Board of Trade, the following are the principal statistics connected with 
the agriculture and farming-stock of the County : 

Acreage. 314 occupants, with 36,436 \ acres in crop, of which 104! 
acres are wheat ; 2027 barley; 9910^ oats ; i rye ; 27^ bere ; 19^ beans ; 
182^ pease ; 227 vetches ; 5265! turnips ; 956 potatoes ; 4^ mangold ; 
i \ carrots ; i cabbage ; sj turnip seed ; 3 other crops ; 83! bare fallow ; 
1 7>6i5 J grass and hay under rotation. 

Estimated Produce. Wheat, 2822 bushels ; barley, 62,330 bushels ; 


oats, 338,931 bushels; bere, 1037 bushels; beans and pease, 2841 
bushels ; turnips, 70,956 tons ; potatoes, 4505 tons. 

Stock. Horses for agricultural purposes, above three years old, 975 ; 
ditto, under three years old, 238 ; all other horses, 199 ; milk cows, 
2581 ; other cattle, 3037 ; calves, 1736 ; sheep of all ages, for breeding, 
89,708 ; sheep of all ages, for feeding, 21,470 ; lambs, produce of 1855, 
61,533 ; swine, 1215. Total stock, 182,692. 

Estimated average Produce per Acre. Wheat, 26 bushels 3$ pecks ; 
barley, 30 bushels 3 pecks ; oats, 34 bushels 2 pecks ; bere, 38 bushels 
Q\ pecks; beans and pease, 14 bushels o pecks; turnips, 13 tons 9^ 
cwts. ; potatoes, 4 tons 14^ cwts. 

In 1861, the population of the county was 11,408; of whom 5658 
were males, and 5750 females, being a proportion of 101*6 of females 
to every 100 males. The increase of population in the preceding ten 
years was 670. The number of separate families in the county, in 1861, 
was 2410. Houses inhabited, 1982; uninhabited, 102; building, 23. 
The number of children, from five to fifteen, at school in the county, was 
1682 ; scholars of all ages, 1849. At the same time, there were in the 
county 35 male teachers, 15 female teachers, and 6 governesses; 30 
clergymen of various persuasions ; 210 male farmers, and 9 female 
farmers , 47 farm-bailiffs, 25 gamekeepers, 544 agricultural labourers, 
417 ploughmen, 261 shepherds, and 339 indoor farm-servants; 7 builders, 
128 carpenters and joiners, 176 masons and paviors, 13 slaters, 
22 stone-dykers, 6 plasterers, 26 painters and glaziers, 8 plumbers, and 
2 thatchers. Throughout the county, there were 429 female general 
domestic servants, 27 housekeepers, 42 cooks, 63 housemaids, 
17 laundry-maids, and 27 nurses. The number of police-officers was 8, 
including one head-constable and one sergeant. Except during 
close-time in the Tweed, when a large additional force is employed, 
the number of police still remains the same ; and the circumstance 
of a whole county requiring no more functionaries of this sort, speaks 
well for the orderliness of its population ; but the truth is, grave crimes 
seldom occur in Peeblesshire. According to a table of convictions for 
the year ending March 1863, there were 41 for breaches of the Tweed 
Fisheries Acts, 2 for poaching, 24 for assault, 17 for breaches of the 
peace, and 6 for wilful mischief; these, with miscellaneous offences, 
made up a total of 137, of which only 7 were committed by females. 
From the amount of railway operations going on, the above year is 
considered to have been exceptional ; the ordinary number of convic- 
tions in the year being from 70 to 80. In 1859-60, there were only 57. 
Many of the convictions are of vagrants, or of those who do not 
habitually reside in the county. 

In 1863, the death-rate of Peeblesshire was 2-34 in every hundred of 


the population, the general death-rate of Scotland being, for the same 
year, 2-30. In 1863, the ratio of illegitimate births in Peeblesshire was 
10-3 per cent, of the whole births ; the general ratio of illegitimate births 
in Scotland, for the same year, being 9-9. 

The county and town of Peebles are united, under the Act 2 and 3 
Will. IV. c. 35, as a joint parliamentary constituency, returning a 
member to the House of Commons. According to the register made 
up to November 1863, the number of voters, town and county included, 
was 466, whereof 97 resided out of the county. 

Within the present century, the whole of the roads in the county have 
been improved and kept in good condition, in virtue of certain turnpike 
and statute-labour road acts, administered by trustees. Under the 
current statutory arrangement, the turnpike roads are divided into six 
districts, with a separate account for the bridge across the Tweed at 
Innerleithen all the thoroughfares, bridge included, being so far 
maintained by tolls ; a shortcoming in which has caused the districts 
generally to get seriously into debt The statute-labour roads have 
been upheld by a small assessment levied in each parish as occasion 
required. As the establishment of railways (see PEEBLES BURGH) will 
almost annihilate the revenue from the tolls, it is proposed to reorganise 
the entire system on the basis of an assessment on property. A bill 
prepared for the purpose has been introduced into parliament, and is 
at present under consideration. 

Some perplexity prevails respecting the number of parishes in 
Peeblesshire, in consequence of several being united for eccle- 
siastical purposes. The actual number of parishes in a legal 
sense, is sixteen, as follows Peebles, Eddleston, Innerleithen, 
Traquair, Manor, Lyne with Megget, Stobo, Drummelzier, 
Tweedsmuir, Broughton, Glenholm, Kilbucho, Kirkurd, Skirling, 
Linton, and Newlands. For ecclesiastical purposes, Broughton, 
Glenholm, and part of Kilbucho are reckoned as one ; the 
remaining portion of Kilbucho being ecclesiastically attached to 
Culter, in Lanarkshire. Lyne and Megget, though lying apart, 
are united quoad omnia, and are therefore only one parish. The 
result of these arrangements is, that the number of parish 
ministers in the county is fourteen. Parts of the parishes of 
Innerleithen and Traquair extend into Selkirkshire, a portion 
of which county is environed by the parish of Peebles. There 
are two suppressed parishes, Kailzie and Dawick, each being 


civilly as well as ecclesiastically merged in their respective 
adjoining parishes. The Presbytery of Peebles consists of twelve 
out of the fourteen parish ministers ; the remaining two, namely, 
the ministers of Skirling and the united parish of Broughton, 
Glenholm, and Kilbucho, pertain to the Presbytery of Biggar, 
in Lanarkshire. 

The number of parish schoolmasters within the county is 
fifteen ; for as Peebles is a royal burgh, the parish to which it 
belongs has no school of the parochial kind. Each of the fifteen 
schoolmasters is provided with a dwelling, a garden, and school- 
house by the heritors, and with an annual salary, payable 
equally by the heritors and the tenants in the respective 
parishes. The latest fixed table of salaries shews one of ^40, 
five of 4$, seven of $o, one of $$, and one of 70 the 
lowest being for Drummelzier, and the highest Innerleithen ; 
besides all which salaries, each schoolmaster is authorised to 
take certain school-fees. The schoolmasters also derive con- 
siderable emoluments by acting as session-clerks, inspectors of 
poor, and collectors of poor-rates, in their respective parishes. 

The heritors (land-proprietors) of each parish provide and 
maintain a church, also a manse and glebe, along with an 
annual stipend for the minister. The manses are generally 
good, being suitable as dwellings for a respectable family. The 
stipends vary from 150 to about ^300 per annum, according to 
circumstances. Those stipends which are mainly reckoned in 
grain, commuted into money payments, according to the average 
or fiar prices, fluctuate in amount ; but seldom has any of them 
been above .400 a year. A considerable number of the heritors 
in the county are Episcopalians ; a circumstance which makes no 
difference in the general desire to fulfil all proper obligations 
towards the Established Presbyterian system the harmony that 
prevails on this point being, indeed, an agreeable social feature ; 
though it may, at the same time, be admitted to be not a very 
wholesome state of things, in which, from convictions, habits, and 
feelings, the higher and other classes are so greatly separated 
on the score of religious observances. 


PEEBLES occupies a beautiful situation on a peninsula 
formed at the junction of the Eddleston Water with the 
Tweed. The town consists of a main or High Street, with 
several lesser streets, and as in old Scottish towns that had been 
walled, a number of diverging lanes or closes. The closes on 
the north extend towards Eddleston Water, while those on the 
south point to the Tweed. On this southern side, the houses in 
the rear of the main street possess a delightful exposure, with 
pretty little gardens basking in the sun, and commanding a 
pleasant outlook to Newby Hills. At the foot of these gardens 
lies Tweed-green, an open strip of land bordering the river, with 
some villas at its eastern boundary ; near which, looking west- 
wards towards the bridge, the above sketch has been taken. The 
High Street, stretching from the parish church, which occupies 
the site of the ancient royal castle of Peebles, to the East Port, 
is broad and regular, and environed with neatly-built houses of 
two to three stories in height. Overhanging the town on the 
east, are the two finely-wooded hills of Venlaw and Janet's Brae. 


Such is Peebles Proper, or the New Town, as it is locally desig- 
nated. A separate collection of houses, known as the Old Town, 
occupies a rising-ground on the north of Eddleston Water ; while 
on the elevated grounds on the south side of the Tweed, there 
has, in recent times, been built a species of third town, which 
promises to exceed the others in dimensions. From the nature of 
its situation, Peebles has been under the necessity of connecting 
its detached parts by bridges, the more imposing of which is 
the lofty structure of five arches across the Tweed, erected, as 
previously mentioned, by a long and costly effort, about the end 
of the fifteenth century. This bridge, widened at the expense of 
the county in 1834, remains the great thoroughfare to the south, 
and from it is obtained a remarkably fine view westwards to 
Neidpath, and eastwards to the towering peak of the Lee Pen. 

The old town, as its name imports, is the more ancient seat of 
population. Here, probably, were pitched the Pebyll, or tents of 
the wandering Gadeni, whence the town derives its name ; and 
here, in medieval times, arose the church of St Andrew and 
the church of the Holy Cross. Until it was extended by modern 
additions, the old town appeared to be only the fragment of 
what had at one time covered a much larger space of ground, 
in which the present roadways are presumed to mark the lines 
of former streets. Perhaps, the most important street of all, 
was one connecting the two ecclesiastical establishments. A 
roadway, leading from an open space in the existing old town 
which had been the original market-place of the burgh, to the 
cross thoroughfare between the two churches, is now called the 
Lidgate, a corruption, it is believed, of Lych-gait, signifying the 
way by which the dead were carried to the churchyard the 
access to which, in ancient times, was on the east. By a small 
effort of imagination, we are therefore to contemplate the old 
town as having covered several fields behind the present 
houses, and as being the place of residence of a numerous 
body of clergy, including the abbot of Aberbrothock, when, 
with a retinue of monks, he visited the hostilagium connected 
with his convent. 



Although a place of some dignity until the Reformation, when 
the ecclesiastical grandeur of Peebles was laid in ruin, the old town 
occupied so insecure a position, that, for the sake of better defence, 
the burghal authorities and principal inhabitants had at a much 
earlier period removed to the peninsula on the south, and there, 
under shelter of the royal castle, extended their dwellings east- 
wards. It is feasible to conjecture that as early as the reign of 
David I., the new town, though small, had assumed a regular 
shape, with a castle, mill, and chapel clustering together at its 
western extremity. An environing wall with gates was the 
work of a later period, when the destructive wars, consequent on 
the death of Alexander III., succeeded by disastrous border 
incursions, caused the burgesses to employ every available means 
of defence, including the erection of bastel-houses. It is certain 
that, from the battle of Flodden, 1513, until about the end of the 
seventeenth century, Peebles was surrounded by a wall, provided 
with gates or ports, which were guarded as a public duty. In the 
work of Blaew, 1654, the town is described as having three 
churches, three streets, and three ports, all afterwards, along with 
some other ternary characteristics, commemorated in the well- 
known lines of Dr Pennecuik : 

' PEEBLES, the metropolis of the shire, 
Six times three praises doth from me require ; 
Three streets, three ports, three bridges it adorn, 
And three old steeples by three churches borne. 
Three mills to serve the town in time of need, 
On Peebles Water and the river Tweed. 
Their arms are proper, and point forth their meaning, 
Three salmon fishes nimbly counter-swimming. ' 

As regards ports, the lines are not quite correct ; for there 
were four instead of three. The town-wall began at the West 
Port, near the castle, and ran eastwards along the north side 
of the green, but within the present line of garden-boundary, 
till it ascended the Vennel to the East Port. It then con- 
tinued by a curved line to the northern gate or port, where 
commenced the northern entrance to the town, called the North- 
gait, now modernised into Northgate. The wall now descended 


on the inside of Usher's Wynd to the border of Eddleston 
Water. It then went southwards along the side of this small 
river till it was connected with the outworks of the castle ; 
but about the middle of this stretch stood a gate or port, 
forming the inlet to the Brig-gait, now called Briggate. Besides 
these principal gateways, there were several of a smaller kind 
for the convenience of foot-passengers. One of these was at 
the foot of St Michael's Wynd, opening on Eddleston Water, 
and another communicated with the green. It is learned from 
the town books that considerable portions of the old wall 
were not gone till past the middle of last century. Certain 
old ruinous tenements bought by the burgh in 1752, in order 
to clear a site for a town-house and school, are described as 
' comprehending the whole close and yards down to the town- 
wall upon Tweed-green.' B. R. In 1758, the council 'resolve 
to take down the West Port, and level the port-brae,' in order 
to make a more commodious entrance to the town. B. R. 
Cleared away by these and other operations, the wall generally 
disappeared about the year 1800, leaving only a few fragments, 
the largest of which near the East Port has already been 
referred to. 

The three streets are, of course, the High Street, Northgate, 
and Old Town. The three bridges are Tweed Bridge and two 
across Eddleston Water ; though, strictly speaking, there are five, 
by including two of a minor kind. Of the history of Tweed 
Bridge, we have presented some particulars ; but of that across 
Eddleston Water, near the church (lately superseded by a new 
bridge), no accurate account can be given. Our belief is, that it 
had no existence when the town was in a defensible state with 
walls. At that period, the access from the old to the new town 
was chiefly by the Briggate, towards which, as the records shew, 
there was a thoroughfare, called Brig-house-knowe, a name 
now corrupted into Biggies-knowe. There was a minor access 
by a ford across Eddleston Water, at the foot of St Michael's 

The three steeples of Peebles were those of St Andrew's Church, 



the Cross Church, and the Chapel of the Virgin. The steeple of 
this last-mentioned edifice, at the west end of the High Street 
(opposite the office of the Union Bank), was that which contained 
' ye knok,' purchased by fines in 1462, and also the bell which, 
besides calling together the council, summoned the inhabitants 
three times every week to pay the cess or government tax 
stented by the quarter-masters. This old steeple was further of 
use in having a, vaulted apartment, which, as auxiliary to the 
tolbooth, served the purpose of a prison. 

Of the mills, one was a wauk-mill on Eddleston, or, as it is 
sometimes called, Peebles, Water ; and the other two, a malt and 
meal mill, were on the Tweed, near the castle. From frequent 
references in the burgh records to the malt-mill and to breweries, 
we conclude that in past times a considerable quantity of ale was 
made for the use of the inhabitants, and that the quality and 
price of the article were protected by heavy penalties. 

The arms of the town, referred to in the lines of Pennecuik, 
consist of a shield with three fishes, proper, counter-swimming 

that is, one swimming up and two 
down the stream, as indicating the 
increase by spawning ; with the 
MENTUM (Increase by swimming 
against the flood). The figure of 
St Andrew with his cross is some- 
times introduced as crest ; such being 
evidently traced to the patron saint 
of the original parish church. The 
Fig- 23. Burgh Seal. arms without the crest, with the date 

1682, continue to be borne on the seal of the burgh, of which 
we offer a representation. 

Peebles, as has been said, suffered a blow by the Act of Union, 
about which time it seems to have dropped into that peaceful 
and languishing condition from which it is only now effectually 
recovering. It was about the conclusion of the tasteful period, 
that the market-cross of the burgh, which figures at various times 



in its history, was renovated, and received that picturesque form 

which it bore within the recollection of the present writer. 

Standing in the centre of the street, opposite the head of the 

Northgate, the cross consisted of an octagonal shaft of stone, 

three feet three inches in 

circumference, and about 

twelve feet high, with an 

ornamental capital, sur- 
mounted by a sun-dial 

with four faces, bearing at 

the corners the date 1699. 

Above the dial was an iron 

vane, in which were the 

open figures 1662. The 

shaft rose from the centre 

of a paved platform, or roof 

of an octagonal building, 

about ten feet high, and 

twelve feet across. An 

access to the platform was 

gained by a door and 

inner flight of steps. The sides of the octangular substructure 

being of plain ashlar, and the platform being unprovided with 

a railing, there was nothing attractive in point of architecture, 

yet the whole had a good effect. To enhance its appearance, 
the shaft was decorated on four sides with carved shields, and in 
the floral ornaments of the capital might be recognised the 
cinquefoil of the Frasers of Neidpath, and the three fish as the 
cognizance of the burgh. The cross, so constructed, was useful 
to the town according to the usages of a past era. Offenders 
were set upon it as a pillory, and from it royal and other procla- 
mations were made. Around it were circled the gentlemen of 
the town and county to drink the king's health at every recur- 
ring birthday of His Majesty ; it being the practice on such 
occasions for each gentleman to throw away his glass over his 
head when the health was drunk, greatly to the delight of the 

Fig. 29. Cross of Peebles, 1699. 


surrounding crowd, who tried to catch the glasses as they fell 
the exhilaration of the scene being increased by shouts 
mingled with strains from the town-piper and such other music 
as was at command. 1 With incidents of this festive kind, also 
the horse-races at Beltane, the competitions of the Royal 
Archers, and the merriment of several annual fairs, we have 
to enliven the somewhat dull routine of life in Peebles throughout 
the greater part of the eighteenth century. 

What became of the old castle of Peebles, once the residence 
of royalty, is left unexplained by any record which we have been 
able to consult. The last time we see it mentioned is in the 
Rental Book of the Earl of Tweeddale's estates, which is dated 
'Peebles Castle, 26th April 1671 till 1685.' a Peebles Castle 
therefore existed, though perhaps in a decayed condition, until 
near the close of the seventeenth century, and shortly afterwards 
sinking to ruin, it would probably be removed as building 
materials. Certainly, it was gone at the commencement of the 
eighteenth century. In 1720, the town-council ordered 'the 
banks round the castle-hill to be planted with trees.' Subse- 
quently, a portion of the cleared site of the castle was laid out 
as a public bowling-green ; and the remaining part continued to 
be occupied with some inferior buildings and a stack-yard until 
the space was required for the new parish church. B. R. At 
the building of the prison, some of the foundations of the castle 
were disclosed. 

Resuming the history of the burgh at the point it was broken off, we 
are introduced to a personage who was long well known in the world of 
fashion, Lord William Douglas, Earl of March and Ruglen, who after- 
wards became fourth Duke of Queensberry. Born in 1725, in the 
family mansion in Peebles, the earl, while still a young man residing in 
London, appears to have constituted himself political adviser to the town- 
council, over which, from his territorial advantages, his patronage of the 
parish, and other circumstances, he exercised apparently a complete 

1 Information from an aged lady, who remembered the health of George II. being 
dnmk in this manner in' 1758. 

a Inventory of Writings produced by Robert Taylor, a claimant in the Polmood 


thraldom. On all occasions of elections of members of parliament 
for the district of burghs, his lordship courteously wrote to the provost of 
Peebles, intimating whom he wished to be placed in nomination, and only 
on some special ground were his wishes ever neglected. Out of many 
instances of this interference with the freedom of election, one may be 
given. When, in 1754, the Honourable Mr Carmichael declined to offer 
himself again as a candidate, on the score of bad health, his lordship 
brought forward another of his nominees, Mr Murray of Philiphaugh, a 
former member, favourably known by his contribution of ;ioo to bring 
water into the burgh. On this occasion, the following letter was received 
by the provost, and communicated to the council. 

' London, y>th March 1754. SIR Mr Murray of Philiphaugh proposes 
to offer himself as candidate for your district of burghs. I hope you and 
the council will approve of this intention, and think him a fit person to 
represent you in parliament. His birth, fortune, and good character, I 
doubt not, will sufficiently recommend him. His being my friend will, I 
flatter myself, likewise incline you to serve him. Be assured, you can 
never do anything more agreeable to me, and I do the more earnestly 
recommend him to your friendship and assistance, as I am well satisfied 
you cannot fix upon a more worthy representative, or on one who will 
be more willing or more able to serve you. Upon this occasion, I 
cannot help repeating to you and the council the assurance I have often 
made you of my inclination to be useful to you. I daresay, every man 
in Peebles is convinced of the particular affection I must have to the 
town, where I was born, and every one must see that by your situation, 
whatever services I can do you, must in the end not only tend to my 
honour but to my advantage. I am your most obedient and assured 
friend, MARCH and RUGLEN.' B. R. 

Murray was returned. For this and similar transactions, the inhabit- 
ants were not answerable. The nomination of members of parliament, 
until the Reform Act, was in the hands of the town-council, which con- 
sisted of a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and thirteen 
councillors, making in all seventeen. The election of the council took 
place yearly, on the first Monday after Michaelmas, much on the plan of 
the old electing the new members, the only person nominated through 
exterior influences being the deacon of the corporation of weavers. 
Substantially, the council were elected, as well as regulated in their 
proceedings, by the provost. We are also to recollect, that the 
business of the council was for a lengthened period conducted with 
profound secrecy ; to enforce which an oath appears to have been insti- 
tuted, in 1766, during the long incumbency of Provost Francis Russell. 
From this date, for about thirty-four years, all the members of council, 


at each annual election, swore the following oath of secrecy, imme- 
diately after taking the oaths of allegiance and assurance : 

'I, , Do hereby Promise and Declare upon oath before God 

and the remanent members of this Council, and that without any mental 
reservation or prevarication, that I shall not Disclose or make known to 
any person whatever, by word or write, or any other manner of way 
whatsoever, any Secrets or Debates of this Council : That is, how or in 
what manner any Member shall vote for or against any affair, cause, or 
business, that shall come before them, nor the reasons and arguments 
that shall be used and advanced by any Member of Council.' B. R, 
Subscribed by all the members and town-clerk. 

1759, Nov. 1 6. William Malcolm applies to the council for assistance 
to enable him to dig for coal, of which ' he has good hopes,' at Windy- 
lawsburnfoot. It is agreed to let him have 'three hands upon the 
town's expense for two weeks.' The council afterwards allow him wood 
to prop the sides of his pits. B. R. This was a vain effort ; no coal 
was discovered, nor possibly could be. 

Hitherto, Peebles had derived no little celebrity from its Beltane 
festival, which, including horse-races, archery, and other sports, took 
place on the level plain on the south bank of the Tweed, known as 
Whitehaugh Muir. Unmindful of the value of traditions, which are in 
themselves a property not purchasable with money, the town did not, as 
it seems to us, make any particular effort to preserve this interesting 
inheritance. After passing through various hands, the Whitehaugh 
Muir had for some time formed part of the estate of Haystoun, and 
as such the town had paid yearly to the tenant the sum of ten merks 
Scots, for its use at Beltane. The land coming into the management of 
Dr James Hay, he began to enclose and improve it in a manner which 
rendered it unfit for the customary festivities. At first, the town gave 
little heed to these operations, but at length taking the matter up, the 
council feigned to crave the opinion of a lawyer on the subject. On the 
iyth of February 1766, a memorial is copied into the records, repre- 
senting that the town from time immemorial has used the Whitehaugh 
Muir for its Beltane and other races, ' which have drawn large numbers 
of persons from all parts of the kingdom,' and it is important to know 
' what measures the town should take to recover its right and 
privilege to the said courses and muir.' B. R. This memorial does not 
appear to have been sent to any lawyer, and there is no more about it. 
Having twenty-seven years earlier dispossessed itself of King's Muir, the 
town was now left without a sufficiently large space of ground whereon 
to hold the great annual gathering. An ancient festival, commemorated 
by two royal poets, and from which alone the town derived any celebrity, 
was therefore suffered to die out ' Peebles to the Play ' was extinct. 


1769, April 4. The council have under consideration a letter from 
the Earl of Traquair, asking a subscription to help him to build a bridge 
over the Quair, which he says will be of great use in facilitating the 
transit of meal from Selkirk to Peebles market, by way of Minchmoor. 
A subscription of six guineas is ordered to be given from the funds of 
the burgh. B. R. 

1770, Oct. 10. Mr James Montgomery, Lord Advocate, having 
pointed out the great advantage of having a proper road from Peebles to 
the border of Midlothian, in the direction of Edinburgh, a general sub- 
scription is entered into for the purpose of effecting this improvement by 
means of a turnpike act; in aid of which the burgh subscribes ten 
guineas. B. R. Such is the first notice of the present road to Edin- 
burgh, the previous thoroughfare, up and down hill, and circuitous in a 
strange manner, being barely passable by wheeled carriages. The road, 
for example, on leaving Peebles, proceeded uphill to Venlaw House, and 
then along the heights, descending here and there, and at last quitting 
the county near Portmore. The two steepest ascents were those to 
Venlaw and Windylaws. For such roads, four horses were necessary ; 
and at best, the average progress was about three miles an hour. It is 
related by tradition, that Mr James Montgomery, when arriving from 
Edinburgh by this route, came thundering down the road from Venlaw 
to Peebles in his four-horse carriage. 

1771, March 18. James Ritchie, town-piper, petitions the council for 
a salary. He says ' that he had been the town-servant for thirty years, 
without having any allowance but a house and garden. He has ten 
children, five of them still in family with him, and cannot do for them- 
selves. It has been with great difficulty he has brought them up ; which 
necessitates him to apply for a small salary' to be settled upon him.' 
Prayer of petition granted. ' In consideration of his numerous family, 
and that he does his duty regularly, the council allow him five shillings 
sterling, quarterly.' B. R. In making this allowance, the council doubt- 
less kept in view that the piper enjoyed fees for playing at weddings and 
other festivities ; and that, according to usage, he would receive many 
friendly gifts at Hogmanay. Latterly, in addition to the above handsome 
salary of a pound per annum, the town kept him in a suit of clothes, red 
and of an antique cut, with a cocked-hat. On a fresh petition, he 
received a pair of shoes, yearly. Piper Ritchie, who was a kind of 
oddity, died a very old man, July 1807, and had no successor in his 

1772, July 27. It is represented by the provost, that about two 
weeks ago, Alexander Murderson, tenant in Wormiston, and John Millar, 
his sen-ant, had been brought to Peebles on a charge of stealing sheep 
from William Gibson, in Newby, and Thomas Gibson, in Grieston, and 


lodged in the vault in the steeple, which being very insecure, needs to 
be guarded night and day. The council order new locks and a guard. 
B. R. 

Dec. 9. The members of the corporation of tailors petition the 
magistrates and council to statute and ordain that the hours of working 
at the houses of employers shall be from six in the morning till six in 
the evening in summer, and from eight till eight in winter. Prayer of 
petition granted. B. R. This is one out of numerous entries of the 
same kind, shewing the control which the council at one time exercised 
over the incorporated trades. The tailors of Peebles, as in the country 
parts of Scotland generally, continued to work in the houses of their 
employers, for several years within the present century, when the practice 

1773, Jan. 3. Letter read from Walter Scott, writer to the signet, 
Edinburgh [father of the celebrated Sir Walter], intimating a gift to the 
town of ^25 sterling from Sir James Cockburn, baronet (recently 
appointed member), for behoof of the poor of the burgh. Mr Scott 
says : ' It will be very convenient for you to send an order to some person 
here to receive the money from me, as it is not safe trusting it with 
carriers.' Thanks of the council ordered, and meal is to be bought with 
the amount, and distributed among the poor. B. R. On two occasions 
afterwards, gifts of the same amount are intimated by Mr Scott; and 
both times meal is purchased and distributed. From these and other 
entries, it would appear that the privilege of electing a member of 
parliament was useful as an aid towards supporting the poor. At the 
rate of ^25 per burgh, Sir James Cockburn must have paid ;ioo, in 
name of donations, at each election. But his presents were not confined 
to money. 1781, Feb. 17. 'Provost Reid acquainted the council that 
he had lately received from Mr Walter Scott, as Doer for Sir James 
Cockburn, a bagpipe as a present from Sir James to the town, which 
was exhibited in council.' 1 B, R. 

Aug. 23. Rev. W. Dalgleish, parish minister, is requested by the 
council to desist from pasturing the churchyard with his horse and cows; 
and to exclude him, a lock is placed on the gate. B. R. 

1775, March 25. The council have under consideration 'the great 
necessity there is for a hangman to reside in the town,' unanimously 
agree, that if a proper person can be had, they will engage him, and give 
him a proper salary over and above the fees belonging to that office. 

1 One should not too readily smile at these gifts ; for in accepting them Peebles was 
no way singular. Until our own times, the member for Edinburgh gave a plate 
of fifty guineas, to be run for at the yearly races. As derogatory alike to giver 
and receiver, Mr Macaulay declined to perpetuate practices of this nature. 


Aug. 31. The council appoint five persons for the respective quarters 
of the town ' to be apprysers or Birleymen within the burgh for the 
ensuing year.' They are to attend and give their oath, de fideli. B. R. 
Previously (March 29, 1736), there is an entry respecting the appoint- 
ment of Birleymen for the old town. We have heard of no other 
instance of Birleymen being appointed in a royal burgh. In old Scottish 
baronies, Birleymen were an inferior class of officials, whose duty con- 
sisted in keeping order and settling petty disputes amicably. Being in 
Peebles designated ' apprysers,' they probably exercised the duty of 
authorised valuators. 

Oct. 24. The council, hearing that other town-councils are sending 
addresses to George III., expressive of sympathy with His Majesty, on 
account of the rebellion of his American subjects, cordially agree to send 
a loyal address to the king, in which they state, ' that it is with the 
utmost abhorrence and detestation we see a rebellion carried on in some 
of your Majesty's colonies, instigated and promoted by a seditious and 
evil-minded faction at home.' B. R. Let those who impute the loss of 
the American colonies to the obstinacy of George III., keep such 
addresses in remembrance. 

1776, Jan. 15. The steeple is ordered to be taken down as ruinous, 
and the rubbish sold. B. R. 

1778, Feb. 9. At the request of Mr Haig of Bemerside, the council 
contribute five guineas towards the cost of a bridge over Leader Water 
foot, then just finished. B. R. 

Dec. 29. The council, in conjunction with the heritors, agree to the 
proposition of building a new church, betwixt the bowling-green and the 
street. The town to be at the expense of building the steeple and 
furnishing it with a clock and bells, for which it is to be the property of 
the burgh. Shortly afterwards, the council stake off the site on the 
Castle-hill ; and a plan by Mr Brown, architect, is approved of. 

1779, Aug. 26. The provost reports that he had caused the town- 
officer to apprehend an able-bodied man fit for His Majesty's service, 
and take him hand-cuffed to Edinburgh, but that the officer while on the 
way had taken drink and removed the hand-cuffs, whereby the man 
escaped. The council authorise the officer to be dismissed. B. R. 
Nothing seems to have been charged against the ' able-bodied man ; ' 
the provost merely saw in him an object fit to be impressed for the 
naval service, for which, at this time, men were urgently in request. 

1779. This year, Peebles partook of the general frenzy, caused by 
the proposal to remove the disabilities of Roman Catholics in Scotland. 
The town-council, and also the several incorporated trades (Jan. 28) 
petitioned both houses of parliament against the relief bill ; and to aid 


the opposition, the trades, by small sums from each, contributed ^14, ios. 
to be forwarded to the central committee in Edinburgh. B. R. To its 
great honour, the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale refused to join in 
the popular clamour, or to petition against what now all consider to have 
been an act of justice and humanity. 

1780, Feb. 19. A pump-well ordered to be dug in the old town, at 
the end of the Lidgate. B. R. 

1783, Jan. 25. The church being built, it is discovered that the 
steeple, which all expected to be the pride of the town, instead of being 
finely tapered, according to the plan, bulges out in a very extraordinary 
way. Mr Robert Burn, architect, being sent for and consulted about it, 
declares that the plan has been ' shamefully departed from.' Unfortu- 
nately, the work cannot be undone and properly executed over again, 
except at an expense which the contractors, two masons in the town, are 
unable to encounter. Subject drops B. R. The steeple remains an 
eyesore till the present day. 

1789. Adam Peacock petitions the council to erect a snuff-mill for 
him, adjoining the wauk-mill ; they decline doing so. B. R. Peacock 
was a manufacturer of tobacco in the town, and afterwards removed to 

1791. A meeting-house is built at the Gytes for a secession congre- 
gation, which had existed in the town for a few years, and for which 
Rev. Thomas Leckie was ordained minister in 1794. 

1792. Wild ideas about liberty and equality, projected by the 
French Revolution, having reached Peebles, and affected some young 
men, the council take the subject into consideration, and declare their 
horror of ' the seditious writings and open efforts of the turbulent and 
designing for the subversion of our present, and in favour of republican 
government.' B. R. 

Feb. 27. 'William Kerr, distiller and brewer within the royalty 
of Peebles,' states by petition that he has carried on business for 
several years, but is like to be ruined by the exaction of multures by the 
tacksman of the town-mills, who holds him to a thirlage for all the grain 
he uses. Council decline to interfere. B. R. This is the first time 
we hear of Kerfield Brewery, which was long a flourishing concern. 
Subsequently, Jan. 21, 1801, the council have brought before them the 
fact that bakers in the town get their grain ground at Kerfield, to the 
great damage of the town-mill. The subject being laid before an 
eminent lawyer for his opinion, he decides that bakers in the town who 
grind at Kerfield Mill are liable in the multures exigible by the tacks- 
man of the town-mill. B. R. How strange to find that, within the 
present century, there was an imperative legal obligation to employ 
only the mill belonging to the burgh. 


March 17. A petition is presented by 'John Kennedy, baker,' 1 and 
four others, to be allowed to extend their gardens towards the green, in 
the same manner as several who dwelt west from them had done 
previously. This privilege was granted for a small compensation. In 
1799, 'William Gibson, son of the deceast William Gibson,' and seven 
others, make a similar application, and receive the like permission. In 
1809, the last of these extensions takes place. B, R. We particularise 
these encroachments on the green, because they were all from forty to 
fifty feet beyond the town-wall, which proceeded in a slanting direction, 
from closely behind the houses at the West Port, to the foot of the 
Vennel, where alone the original line is now discernible. The school- 
house, which was built exterior to the wall, determined the present garden 
boundary. There is no mention in the books of the building of a 
small house outside the wall, which used to be named, perhaps 
not inappropriately, ' Cabbage Hall.' 

May 26. Charles Rogers appointed ' hangman, or deputy-executer of 
the law,' at the common salary. B. R, We have heard of no instance 
in which Rogers acted as executioner ; his principal duties consisted in 
whipping and placing offenders on the pillory. He eked out his 
small salary by officiating as a town-crier, for which he used a hand-bell 
to draw public attention. His dress, provided by the town, consisted of 
a dark-blue coat, with white facings. We cannot refrain from adding 
the following, which appears under date April 26, 1803. 'Appoint the 
treasurer to procure a suit of new clothes for Charles Rogers, hangman, 
the cloth not to exceed three shillings and fourpence a yard ; and also 
to furnish him with a new shirt and a new pair of shoes and stockings, 
to equip him for his marriage.' B. R. Was ever hangman's marriage 
so cared for? Charley, a respectable man in his way, died within our 
recollection, and had no successor. 

1795. Mr Alexander Brodie of Carey Street, London, sends ten 
guineas to the poor, and besides gives ^5 a year to the burgh school- 
master to teach poor scholars. B. R. 

1796. School-fee per quarter for reading, writing, and arithmetic, 
which had been fixed at is. in 1782, is now raised to is. 6d. for reading, 
and 2s. including writing and arithmetic. B. R. Fifteen years later, 
the fee was only zs. 3</., and including Latin, 5-r. In addition to the 

1 Of this person, tradition has preserved some pleasant remembrance. 'Johnny 
Kennedy,' a vivacious little man, was celebrated for his admirable penny pies and 
twopenny, which, with the assistance of his daughter, Jean, one of the belles of 
Peebles, he dispensed in an establishment, consisting of a sunk cellar, half bake-house, 
half tavern, at the foot of a close in the High Street, which was long a favourite 
resort of the lieges, particularly on Saturday nights. This humble but merry hostel 
was situated at the foot of the close adjoining the premises of Messrs Thorbum. 


fees, however, a voluntary donation was made to the teacher at Candle- 
mas, named the ' Candlemas bleeze,' a relic of an ancient usage. Pupils, 
also, contributed a few pence in winter for coal. 

1797, April 15. Ordered that all boys pulling up stones in the street 
with suckers are to be seized, and their suckers taken from them. 

1798, March i. The town subscribes ^100 'to support government 
at this critical period.' B. R. 

March 10. Estimates are taken for building a new prison, also for 
additional arches to Tweed Bridge. B. R. Both works were executed 
next year. The contractor for the bridge was John Hislop, formerly 
town treasurer, who died from injuries received by the fall of one of the 
arches. His house, which was the first to the west of the Town Hall, 
shews some artistic taste. 

1799, March i. Mr Oman, and Mr Brown, the town schoolmasters, 
are to convene their scholars every Sunday morning, put them through 
the catechism, and march them to church; they are also to appoint 
' censurers ' to keep order in the church. B. R. The practice here 
referred to had fallen into disuse, and was now re-instituted in con- 
formity with awakened religious feelings. 

1799, March 29. In consequence of the present disturbances in 
Ireland, many Irish come to the town for the purpose of disseminating 
the worst of principles ; all such suspicious persons to be apprehended. 
B. R. The town was now in great alarm about the French, and the 
possibility of an invasion. In conjunction -with the county, it raised a 
regiment of Volunteers to support the government ; and in token of 
loyalty, some of the leading inhabitants of Peebles wore the Windsor 
uniform, consisting of a blue coat with red collar. 

July 20. The council agree to feu Walker's Haugh, for a line of 
houses at the east end of the green, at the rate of one shilling for each 
thirty-eight square yards. B. R. Thus, for a very trifling consideration, 
Tweed-green was again injuriously limited in dimensions. 

Sep. n. William Moffat, town drummer, who had some time 
previously resigned, is re-instated in office ; being at the same time 
admonished to be punctual in beating the morning and evening drum, 
in which he had formerly failed to give satisfaction. As regards emolu- 
ments, he is to have a salary of three (afterwards raised to four) pounds 
a year, besides fees for advertising by drum per tariff. He is also 
allowed to rent a vaulted apartment in the prison (the left on entering), 
as a dwelling-house, at a guinea a year. B. R. When ' Drummer Will,' 
as he was usually styled, was first appointed to office, does not appear. 
Within our recollection, he was an aged but tough little man, with well- 
turned legs for there were legs in those days dressed in a military 


coat of the style of 1763, and having his thin gray hair drawn tightly 
back from his forehead till it centred in a plaited queue behind. Will 
was a useful servant of the burgh, for besides being jailer and drummer, 
he acted as constable to the provost and bailies. It is proper to add, 
that his performances on the drum were executed with professional 
precision. Will had been in the army in his youth, and was reputed to 
have had the honour of beating a drum at the capture of Quebec. The 
boys had a wild story about him. It was said that once, on the occasion 
of a great battle, he stood heroically beating his drum in the midst of fire 
and shot, till every man in the regiment was killed but himself. There 
may have been some exaggeration in this legend, but Drummer Will was 
certainly no ordinary man, and we drop a line to his memory. 

1800, Jan. 4. The council having under consideration the scarcity 
and dearth of meal, which is most distressing to poor persons and 
labourers, invite farmers to bring their meal to market, and a subscrip- 
tion is opened to purchase and distribute it at a moderate price. B. R. 
Such is the only notice we have of the ' dear year,' when oatmeal was 
sold at half-a-crown a peck. It was during this season of scarcity that a 
mob, in which a masculine heroine, named May Ingram, figured as 
leader, proceeded to Edston, and in defiance of the farmer, Mr Robert 
Symington, carried off a cart-load of meal to Peebles. The magistrates, 
procuring the assistance of the Volunteers, captured the meal from the 
mob, and storing it in the market-house, sold it, under some arrange- 
ment to pay the proprietor. 

1802, June 19. The first division of the 42 d Regiment, under command 
of Lieutenant-colonel William Dickson of Kilbucho, enter Peebles, and 
the officers and men are entertained in grand style at the cost of the 
town, in honour of their distinguished services in Egypt. B. R. 

Acts of kindness to poor people are very frequent in the town-books. 
For example, June 28, 1803, the council having heard ' that Widow 
Henderson at Whinnyknowe has got two houses totally brunt, agree to 
give her spars for roofing the houses from the town s plantation.' B. R. 

There was need for these small benevolences. At this and a later 
time, the parochial succour to the poor was on that niggardly footing 
which at length provoked the establishment of the new poor-law system. 
Besides the native poverty, too modest to make itself known, mendicancy 
of every kind was still common aggravated, indeed, by the mishaps of 
the war. Old soldiers with wooden legs, and blinded of an eye from 
the campaign in Egypt ; sailors with one arm, and long queues hanging 
down their backs, who were always singing ballads about Lord Nelson 
and his marvellous battles ; houseless nondescripts carrying wallets for 
an ' awmous ' of meal ; blue-gowns, who presented themselves with pro- 
fessional confidence ; and real or affectedly lame aged women, who were 


carried about on hand-barrows from door to door, were all a pest to 
the community, and continued their perambulations in defiance of a 
functionary, designated the ' beggar-catcher,' who was specially appointed 
for their suppression. Fasten's E'en and Beltane Fairs, at which there 
was still a considerable concourse, usually attracted fresh groups of 
mendicants, who arrived from Edinburgh along with the shows, 1 and the 
gingerbread and wheel-of-fortune men. Among the musical geniuses, 
vocal and instrumental, who enlivened, or perhaps troubled, the town 
on these occasions, there was a venerable violinist, John Jameson by 
name. Aged and blind, John wandered through the county, playing 
at kirns, penny-weddings, and fairs ; all his journeys being on foot, and 
performed with the assistance of two faithful companions his wife 
Jenny, and an old white horse, probably worth ten shillings. The 
manner in which this humble trio went about from place to place, gene- 
rally getting lodgings at farm-steadings for nothing, or at most for a tune 

1 For many years, Peebles fairs were frequented by a personage, known as Beni 
Minori, who carried about a Raree show, and is perhaps still remembered. The real 
name of this humble showman was Robert Brown ; that of Beni Minori having been 
assumed for professional reasons. Brown was born in London in 1 737, and reared 
under the charge of his grand-parents near Carlisle, where he remembered the passing 
of Prince Charles Stuart on his way into and out of England, the subsequent surrender 
of the Highland garrison to the Duke of Cumberland, and the still later and more 
agitating sight of the bloody heads over the gates of the city. The early years of 
Brown's life were spent as a post-boy. He then went to sea in 1 759, was captured by 
the French, and remained a prisoner till the end of the ' Seven Years' War. ' Next, he 
went to the West Indies, and had a perfect recollection of the famous victory achieved 
by Rodney, April 12, 1782. Returning to England, he purchased the show-box of an 
old and dying Italian, named Beni Minori, and assuming his name, he was, from some 
resemblance to the deceased, universally recognised as the same personage. Now 
began the wanderings of Beni, otherwise Brown, through the north of England and 
southern counties of Scotland, everywhere carrying his show-box on his back, and 
resorting to all the fairs within his rounds. Our first interview with Beni was in 
Peebles about 1805, and the last time we saw him was in 1839, in the Edinburgh 
Charity Workhouse, where this aged and industrious man had at length found a 
sheltering roof under which to die. Here, we learned the leading particulars of Beni's 
variegated life. He mentioned that his mother had been dead a hundred and 
two years ; for, in giving him birth, she survived only a quarter of an hour. He had 
long ceased to have a single relation in the world. Twelve years ago, he had lost his 
wife, to whom he had been united sixty-four years. There was no living being 
to whom he could look with the eyes of affection. The only thing he cared for was 
his show-box, which he daily cleaned and arranged ; every picture, ring, and cord 
being to him like the face of an old friend. Though thus cast a living wreck on the 
shores of Time, Beni always retained the liveliness which had procured for him the 
attachment of the boys of Peebles. His appearance was still that of a weather-beaten 
foreigner. He wore ear-rings, chewed tobacco, and joked till the last. With some 
little assuagement of his condition, provided by the kindness of a few acquaintances, 
Beni survived till June 1840, when he died at the age of 103 years. 



Fig. 30. 

on the violin, was so remarkable as to deserve commemoration. First, 
came the wife, limping, with one hand pressed on that unfortunately 
rheumatic side, the other leading 
the old horse by a halter. Second, 
the horse, which never seemed 
very willing to get along, and 
needed to be pulled with all the 
vigour which Jenny's spare hand 
could impart. Across its back, 
pannier fashion, hung on one 
side John's weather-worn fiddle- 
case, while on the other was a 
bag of apples, an article in which 
the wife dealt in a small way. 
Last of all, came John, led by 
the tail of the reluctant quadruped ; so that the whole cavalcade moved 
in a piece Jenny pulling at the horse, and the horse pulling at John ; 
and in this way the party managed to make out their journeys through 

Besides these mendicants and peripatetic minstrels, natural idiots, or 
' daft folk,' as they were called, haunted the town and county, some 
harmless and amusing, and others vicious and troublesome. Among the 
amusing class, none was more welcome as a temporary visitor than 
' Daft Jock Grey,' a native of Selkirkshire, which, as well as the adjoining 
counties, he wandered over during the first twenty years of the present 
century, and who is generally considered to have been the original 
of Scott's ' Davie Gellately.' There was at least some resemblance 
between the real and imaginary character. Jock was a kind of genius, 
had a great command of songs, and wholly or partly composed a 
ballad, which, commencing with an aljusion to his own infirmity, 
recited in jingling rhymes the names and qualities of a number of 
those whose houses he frequented in his migrations between Hawick 
and Peebles. He was also a mimic, and as such gave acceptable 
imitations of the style of preaching of all the ministers in his rounds. 
The great novelist could not fail to know and be amused with Jock and 
his harmless drolleries. 

Some of the old popular usages of Scotland were at this time still 
prevalent in Peebles. Hogmanay, or the last day of the year, was 
consecrated to gifts of cakes, short-bread, and buns, distributed at the 
doors to children. On this day, also, tradesmen called personally with 
their yearly accounts, of which they received payment, along with some 
appropriate refreshment. There was first-footing on New-year's morning. 
And Handsel Monday was marked by tossing a profusion of ballads 



and penny chap-books from windows among crowds of clamorous 
youngsters. At this festive season there was likewise much pleasant 
intercourse among relations, calculated to allay family differences. The 
severity of manners recorded a hundred years earlier had worn off. 
There was unrebuked jovialty at births and marriages, and even in a 
solemn way at deaths. In the house of the deceased, on the evening 
before the funeral, there was a Lychwake, consisting of a succession of 
services, presided over by the undertaker, one of whose professional 
recommendations consisted in saying a fresh grace to each batch of 
visitors. The consumption of liquors, whisky in particular, at these 
lugubrious entertainments was incredible, and sometimes seriously 
encroached on the means of families. The practice of inviting attend- 
ance at funerals by public proclamation had disappeared about the end 
of the eighteenth century; but the invitations were still given on a pretty 
broad scale by the verbal message of an official ; and all who attended, 
finished off with an entertainment called the Dregy, which was a degree 
more cheerful than the preceding potations. 

Although the belief in witchcraft had died out generally, it was still 
entertained in a limited way by the less enlightened classes. We have 
a distinct recollection of a poor old woman, who lived in a thatched 
house in the Northgate, being reputed a witch ; and that it was not safe 
to pass her dwelling without placing the thumb across the fourth-finger, 
so as to form the figure of the cross. This species of exorcism we 
practised, under instructions, when a child. We have likewise seen salt 
thrown on the fire, as a guard against the evil eye, when aged women 
suspected of being not quite canny, happened to call at a neighbour's 
dwelling. All such lingering remains of a once formidable superstition 
have long since happily vanished. 

To complete the picture of society in Peebles in the earlier years of 
the present century, it would be necessary to keep in mind that domestic 
accommodation was still on a very imperfect scale. The apartments were 
small and few in number ; many houses even of a good kind, consisting 
only of^a kitchen, parlour, and bed-closet. In perhaps not more than two 
dozen dwellings were there any carpets ; horn spoons were giving way 
to pewter ; and silver forks were of course unheard of. There was no 
reading-room, and the two or three newspapers which arrived daily or 
semi-weekly, were handed about in clubs. The transit of goods from 
Edinburgh was conducted by a few carriers' carts, which were some- 
times obstructed for clays by heavy snow-storms in winter. On one 
occasion of this kind, there was a dearth of salt in the town for a fort- 
night. Shortly before the period here referred to, there was a tax on 
clocks and watches, and from the returns of the surveyor, the following 
facts are learned concerning the number of these articles in Peeblesshire 


in 1797. In the town of Peebles, 15 clocks, 19 silver, and 2 gold 
watches ; in the country part of the parish, 4 clocks, 5 silver, and no 
gold watches. In the whole county, town and parish of Peebles 
included, 106 clocks, 112 silver, and 35 gold watches. 

1804. Notice taken of the regiment of Peeblesshire Volunteer 
Infantry, under command of Lord Elibank, and the troop of Gentlemen 
Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by Captain Sir James Montgomery, now 
quartered in the town. ' The military strength of this county consists 
in all of six hundred and three, including the troop of forty-five Yeomanry 
Cavalry, all properly regimented and disciplined.' B. R. June 21, 
1805. The Volunteers march to Kelso, to remain fourteen days on 
permanent duty. B. R. While at Kelso, they are taken within the 
English border, a thing still talked about by survivors of the corps. 

1806, March 15. The member for the district of burghs gives up 
sending a London newspaper, daily, to the council, and they order one 
on their own account. B. R. We see, however, that in 1812, the 
member asks what London paper the council would like him to send, 
and they say they would prefer the Star. 

Hitherto, the principal inn in Peebles had been that in the Northgate, 
the inadequate accommodation of which led to the project of a new 
hotel, on the Tontine principle, in October 1806. The building was 
begun, and finished in 1808. The capital subscribed was ^3950, in 
fifty-eight shares of ^25 each ; altogether, the establishment cost the 
proprietors ^4030, in which was included ^900 as the price of the 
old houses on the site. In 1809, the ladies very spiritedly subscribed 
^150 to paint the ball-room. The principle in the agreement of the 
proprietors was, ' any age to be entered, and the longest liver to have 
right to the whole.' In several cases, shares were taken on the lives of 
the same nominees. The actual number of nominees was 144. At the 
beginning of 1855, there were seventy-four nominees alive ; and now 
(1864) there are 53. As an investment, the enterprise, as is usual 
with Tontine schemes, has not come up to expectation ; but as a 
county hotel, the concern is not to be merely viewed in a pecuniary 

1807. This year, much excitement in the town concerning the election 
of a member of parliament for the district of burghs, of which Peebles is 
the presiding burgh. The candidates were Sir Charles Ross of Balna- 
gown, and Mr William Maxwell of Carriden, this last commanding the 
popular favour. The council had a choice of two persons to act as 
commissioner Mr Robert Nutter Campbell of Kailzie, and Sir James 
Naesmyth. As favourable to Maxwell, Sir James was voted for by ten 
out of the seventeen members of council ; and in consideration of their 
withstanding the arguments to which they were exposed, they acquired 


celebrity as ' the steady ten.' May 30. Maxwell is returned as member, 
amidst immense public rejoicing. 

Oct. 7. Council met, Thomas Smibert, provost ; the street is ordered 
to be repaired, and a ring of stones is to be placed in the pavement 
where the cross had stood. B. R. The ancient cross of Peebles, 
noticed in many parts of our narrative, was now, on the score of being 
ruinous, wantonly taken down, and the materials ordered to be sold. 
The shaft was fortunately procured by Sir John Hay, Baronet, and 
preserved by him in his grounds till better times. 

1808-10. The country being now in the heat of the French war, 
there was a great pressure for men for the army. Recruiting parties 
attended and beat up at every fair, causing indescribable excitement. 
The ballot for the militia being also in full operation, clubs were organ- 
ised to provide substitutes, who could not be obtained under ^40 to 
$o each. As an exemption from the ballot, young men enrolled 
themselves in a regiment of local militia which was raised in the county, 
and continued in existence several years. This regiment, about 700 
strong, mustered once a year for fourteen days in Peebles ; its uniforms 
and accoutrements being in the interval stored in Neidpath Castle, under 
the guardianship of a respectable old soldier, Sergeant Veitch. 

About this period, the judicial business of the town was far from what 
it has become under various statutes connected with police and prison 
management. Offenders were usually captured by a town officer, at the 
verbal command of the provost, who administered justice in an off-hand 
way from behind his counter, amidst miscellaneous dealings with 
customers, and ordered off alleged delinquents to prison, without keeping 
any record of the transaction. Dismission from confinement often 
took place in the like abrupt and arbitrary manner. In some instances, 
as we can remember, the provost, acting as constable and prosecutor, 
dragged into his shop for trial, boys whom he caught flagrante delicti 
the apprentice being hurriedly despatched for Drummer Will, to finish 
the affair. There was a rude simplicity about all this, which strangely 
contrasts with the artistic and deliberate proceedings of modern times. 

It is also a fact not less consistent with the recollections of persons 
still living, that the town officers, in their uniforms, were occasionally 
employed by one of the schoolmasters, to assist him in holding down 
obstreperous pupils, when they were laid across a table to be punished with 
lashes on the bare back. It was our misfortune to see such exhibitions of 
school discipline ; and not the least strange thing about them was, that 
they evoked remark neither from magistrates nor the public so different 
were people's feelings little more than half a century ago from what 
they are at present. At this period, school education in other places 
besides Peebles was conducted on principles of vengeance and terror. 


Shortly after the recommencement of the war, in 1803, Peebles 
became a de'pot for prisoners of war on parole ; not more, however, 
than twenty or thirty of these exiles arrived at this early period. They 
were mostly Dutch and Walloons, with afterwards a few Danes unfor- 
tunate mariners seized on the coast of the Netherlands, and sent to 
spend their lives in an inland Scottish town. These men did not 
repine. They nearly all betook themselves to learn the art of hand- 
loom weaving, at that time a flourishing craft in Peebles. At leisure 
hours, they might be seen fishing in long leather boots, as if glad to 
procure a few trouts and eels, and, at the same time, satisfy the desire 
to dabble in the water. In 1810, a large accession was made to this 
body of prisoners of war, by the arrival of upwards of a hundred 
officers of an entirely different quality French, Poles, and Italians, in 
a variety of strange and tarnished uniforms, fresh from the seat of war. 
Gentlemanly in manners, they made for themselves friends in the town 
and neighbourhood ; those among them who were surgeons occasionally 
assisting at medical consultations. It added somewhat to their comfort 
that the occupant of the Tontine Hotel, Mr Lenoir, was a French- 
Belgian. During their stay, they set up a private theatre in an upper 
apartment of the building now used as a Corn Exchange, in which they 
enlivened the town by performing gratuitously some of the plays of 
Corneille and Moliere. After a residence of more than a year, the whole 
were abruptly ordered off, chiefly to Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire ; their hasty 
departure inflicting considerable injury on the town, for a number of 
them had contracted debts which they were unable to liquidate. Some 
insolvencies took place in consequence. Three regiments of militia 
now successively occupied Peebles until the peace of 1814. 

The species of stage-carriage employed on the road between Peebles 
and Edinburgh, at the beginning of the present century, was a plain 
wooden vehicle placed on two wheels, and was without springs. 
William Wilson's Caravan, as this primitive species of carriage was 
called, was drawn by a single horse, which walked the distance, 22 
miles, stoppages included, in the space of ten hours. It left Peebles at 
eight o'clock in the morning, and arrived at the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 
at six o'clock in the evening. The fare charged for each passenger was 
2S. 6d. The Caravan, which was in operation as late as about 1806, 
was superseded by the Fly, which resembled an old-fashioned post- 
chaise. It accommodated three insides, and one outside on an uneasy 
swinging seat, along with the driver fare, inside, icxr. 6d. The Fly was 
drawn by two horses, and, including a stoppage of an hour at Howgate, 
they made out the journey in five hours. As this machine went only one 
day, and returned the next, it accommodated no more than twelve 
passengers in the week; and, at particular times, to secure a seat, 


passengers required to be booked a week in advance. Yet, as only the 
more affluent classes could afford to take places in the Fly, many 
persons adopted a less legitimate course. Walking a short way out on the 
public road, they tried the chance of getting a ride by bribing the driver 
with a shilling ; and by a hangy of this kind, the Fly was on one occa- 
sion robbed of the mail-bag in the course of the journey to Edinburgh. 

The days of the Fly came to an end about 1825, when there was 
established one of Mr Croall's stage-coaches, endowed with the capacity 
of running over the ground in the abbreviated space of three hours, and 
which possessed the additional recommendation of going and returning 
in one day fares, latterly, 5^. inside. This coach, with a change of 
horses thrice on the road, continued until our own times; at length 
disappearing only when the accommodation it presented was found to 
be inadequate to the public wants. Persons acquainted with the comforts 
and speed of railway transit, could not endure with patience a rate of 
travelling which accomplished 22 miles in three, and sometimes, in 
unfavourable states of the roads, three hours and a quarter. But, 
further than this, the district of country of which Peebles is the centre, 
being naturally deficient of coal, lime, and sandstone, these, along with 
other materials, require to be brought from a distance ; and for these, 
and all kinds of goods-traffic to and fro, the only available conveyance 
was still by single-horse carts a slow and inconvenient method of 
transit, which told heavily on the interests of the county. 

After several abortive attempts to form a railway in connection with 
Peebles, a fresh endeavour was made in 1852, on which occasion a 
prudential care was taken to confine the enterprise within such pecuniary 
limits as were likely to be attainable in the district. For this purpose, 
a single line, to branch from the North British Railway at or near 
Eskbank, was along aimed at ; and the project was placed in the hands 
of Mr T. Bouch, a civil engineer who enjoys a reputation for contriving 
economical works of this nature. The line was to be about i8 miles 
long, which, added to the portion to be travelled over on the North 
British line, made the entire length to Edinburgh about 27 miles a 
circuit unavoidable in the circumstances. A bill to execute the desired 
line was carried through parliament without opposition, and became a 
law (16 and 17 Viet. cap. Ixxviii.) 8th July 1853. The railway company 
so constituted was empowered to raise a capital of ,70,000, in 
shares of 10 each, and to borrow, in addition, the sum of "23,000 ; 
making a total of ,93,000. In 1857, another act authorised the 
creation of new shares to the extent of 27,000, in 10 shares, guaran- 
teed 5 per cent, per annum; making in all a capital of 120,000. 
The line was opened for traffic on the 4th of July 1855 ; and in 1861, it 
was leased in perpetuity, by the Peebles Railway Company, to the 


North British Railway Company, which now works the traffic on terms 
mutually advantageous. 

Such is an account of the first railway in Peeblesshire, an undertaking 
which has, in all respects, been as successful, and proved as beneficial to 
local interests, as was anticipated. In 1864, a great accession was made 
to railway communication. At the cost of the North British Company, 
the Peebles line was continued down the Vale of Tweed to Innerleithen 
and Galashiels. The northern section of the county was traversed by a 
line formed by an independent company, branching from Leadburn to 
Linton and Dolphinton. And at the same time, from Peebles westward 
by Stobo and Broughton, the Caledonian Company opened a line in 
connection with Symington and Glasgow. By these several means, 
Peebles has become the centre of a system of railroads branching in 
every available direction, and calculated materially to advance its 
interests, as well as to benefit the county generally. 

About the time when the Fly was superseded by the stage-coach, 
there was, for the first time, a bank established in Peebles, namely, 
an agency of the British Linen Company, which was set on foot in 1825. 
Till this branch was opened, all drafts and payments required to be 
transacted by means of carriers to and from the banks in Edinburgh. 
Afterwards, there was established an agency of the Union Bank, and 
more recently, one of the Bank of Scotland ; and looking to the extent 
of their business, the wonder now is, how they should have been so long 
in being planted in the town. 

It is not less remarkable that, as a county town, Peebles should have 
had no printer, until a small press was set up, about 1816, by the late Mr 
Alexander Elder, a man of considerable ingenuity and enterprise. His 
very limited establishment has been succeeded by a printing concern of 
much wider scope, whence is issued, weekly, the Peeblesshire Advertiser, 
a journal commenced in 1845, which has been of much service in 
fostering local improvements. 

In 1846, the town-council, the inhabitants, and their friends in different 
quarters of the country, by a united effort, raised upwards of 1000 to 
effect various public .and desirable improvements in Peebles. The High 
Street was lowered two to three feet throughout its entire length ; drains 
were built ; unsightly projecting buildings and stairs were removed ; and 
the side-ways, so cleared, were laid with pavement. By a fresh effort, 
a joint-stock association introduced water into the town, alike for the 
service of public wells and private houses. Gas had a number of years 
previously been introduced by a joint-stock company. In consequence 
of these improvements, along with some late renovations, the principal 
street may vie in appearance with that of any provincial town of similar 


Of various matters of interest, including old houses with 
characteristic features, in Peebles, some notice may now be 
taken. The most conspicuous edifice of an old date is a massive 
building on the south side of High Street, with turrets at its 
corners, now forming the front of the CHAMBERS INSTITUTION. 

Fig. 31. Chambers Institution, formerly Queensberry Lodging. 

This remarkable building, a good specimen of the old Scottish 
style of domestic architecture, at one time belonged to the Cross 
Church, and by a charter of James VI., 1624, came into the 
possession of the Hays, Lords Yester, afterwards Earls of 
Tweeddale ; from whom, in 1687, it passed to William, first 
Duke of Queensberry, in liferent, and to his' second son, Lord 
William Douglas, first Earl of March, in fee. The property was 
thus acquired by the Queensberry family, about the time the 
duke obtained possession of Neidpath. According to a tradition 
in Peebles, this tenement was formerly called the Dean's House. 
Opposite the mansion, there was, at no distant day, an open 
drain, named the Dean's Gutter ; and here, on the north side of 
the street, is an alley still called the Dean's Wynd. The Dean's 


House bears the appearance of having undergone several alter- 
ations. Looking at the various circumstances connected with it, 
we have little difficulty in concluding, that from being originally 
a mansion belonging to a distinguished churchman, it was 
modernised by the Yester family on coming into their possession, 
and subsequently improved by the Duke of Queensberry, about 
1690, as a town mansion for his son, the Earl of March. Under 
the name of Queensberry Lodging, it was, jointly with Neidpath, 
the residence of the first and second Earls of March ; and here 
the third earl, subsequently fourth Duke of Queensberry, was 
born on the i6th of December 1725. In 1781, the property was 
sold by the duke to Dr James Reid, 1 by whom, and by his son, 
Dr John Reid, it was many years possessed ; and from the last 
survivor of the family it was acquired, in 1857, to be put to its 
present uses, which are briefly indicated in the following inscrip- 
tion on a tablet fronting the street : ' This Edifice, successively 
the Property of the Cross Church, the Hays, Lords Yester, 
Earls of Tweeddale, the Douglases, Earls of March, and the 
Fourth Duke of Queensberry, was finally acquired by WILLIAM 
CHAMBERS, and for purposes of Social Improvement, presented 
by him as a Free Gift to his Native Town, 1857.' On acquiring 
the building, Mr Chambers entirely remodelled the interior, with 
the exception oT the vaulted ground-floor, renewed the windows, 
and added appropriate pointed roofs to the flanking turrets. 
Behind, some low edifices were taken down and rebuilt ; and to 

1 Dr Reid, the purchaser of Queensberry Lodging, and provost of the burgh for a 
number of years, was a man eminent in his profession, the friend of Cullen, Gregory, 
and other lights of his time, and was excelled by few as a bold and skilful operator. 
People with mysterious ailments came to consult him from places many miles distant ; 
but it was chiefly as a surgeon that he gained his wide reputation. His decision and 
self-reliance were remarkable. An anecdote used to be told of his having on one 
occasion, at midnight, performed a hazardous and difficult operation for the relief of 
an internal complaint on the person of a shepherd in a remote shieling among the hills. 
There being no one to assist him, he stuck a candle in a hole which he cut in the front 
of his hat ; and with this imperfect light he effected his object, and saved the life of his 
patient As provost, he exercised considerable influence In manner and appearance, 
he belonged to the gentlemen of the old school ; dressed in hair-powder and a cocked- 
hat, wore frills at his wrists, and was usually booted ready for the saddle. He died in 


close the south side of the interior quadrangle, there was erected 
a spacious hall. In the centre of the quadrangle, as represented 
in fig. 32. was placed the shaft of the old cross of Peebles, 
gifted to the burgh by Sir Adam Hay. Thus completed, the 

Fig- 32. Quadrangle, Cross, and Hall, Chambers Institution. 

Institution was ceremoniously opened, August u, 1859. It com- 
prehends (i.) A public Lending Library of 15,000 volumes, to 
which new works are constantly being added ; (2.) A Reference 
Library of upwards of 500 volumes ; (3.) A public Reading- 
room, and several rooms for private study ; (4.) A Gallery of Art, 
with a miscellaneous museum ; (5.) A County Musuem, being 
a collection of objects illustrative of the Fauna, Flora, and 
Mineralogy of Peeblesshire ; and (6.) A Hall, 74 by 34 feet, for 
lectures and public meetings. The whole are under the 
charge of a resident keeper. The Institution is maintained 
partly by endowment, and partly by small fees payable by 
visitors and others. During winter, the lectures in the hall, 
concerts, and other popular entertainments, are usually well 
attended. The library, situated in the ancient building in front, 
is arranged round an open gallery overhanging the reading- 



room, as represented in fig. 33. Books from the library are 
circulated all over the county. The Institution, in all its parts, 
was made over by Mr Chambers as a gift to the community ; 

F'g. 33- Library and Reading-room, Chambers Institution. 

and as such, is held in trust by the corporation of the burgh. 
There is a body of directors, some of whom are elected, and 
others are persons holding office in the town and county. The 
Institution is managed chiefly, however, by a secretary and the 
resident keeper. As the principal sight in the town, it is much 
frequented by strangers, who are conducted through the several 
departments. Whether as regards social improvement, the 
Institution will realise the expectations and wishes of its founder, 
remains to be determined. In the meanwhile, it is usually spoken 
of as an attraction to the town and neighbourhood ; and with the 
increase of population, its usefulness will perhaps become more 

At a short distance westward from the Institution, on the same 
side of the street, is the Town-hall, a plain edifice of the date 
1753 ; behind it is a building lately remodelled into a Corn 
Exchange. Directly opposite, on the north side of the High 
Street, is a tenement of three stories, which was built on the site 



1 7 I/: W- 

of the Tolbooth and Council-house, alluded to in the older 
records of the burgh. Adjoining it on the east, 
is a lower and more ancient tenement, which 
was for many generations occupied by a family 
named Turnbull, bakers, who were more par- 
ticularly renowned for baking shortbread and 
gingerbread, for which they gave the town some 
degree of celebrity. These Turnbulls are men- 
tioned in the oldest existing records of the 
burgh. On the front of the building is a 
stone with carvings emblematic of the profession 
Stone in House of the of the proprietors, with an inscription and 
Turnbulls. date, as represented in fig. 34, but the whole 
considerably defaced. 

A small projecting building, east from the Chambers Institu- 
tion, is said to have been the surgery of the lamented Mungo 
Park, 1 during his residence in Peebles, 1801-2 (his dwelling-house 
being at the head of the Briggate, north side), previous to his 
second and fatal journey in Africa. 

In a close behind what was Park's humble laboratory, also in 
several other parts of the eastern and less altered portions of the 
High Street, may still be seen buildings with vaulted floors, level 
with the street. Such are the interesting relics of the bastel- 
houses, erected for security against the attack of border invaders. 
A conspicuous specimen of a vaulted building, nearly entire in 
all its parts, is presented in a tall old house opposite the Episcopal 
chapel, now among the last of the thatched houses in Peebles. 
It may be observed that this edifice, besides being vaulted, is 
provided with an arched passage a kind of small porte-cochere, 

1 In this miserable den did Park experience some of the difficulties incidental to the 
life of a country surgeon, and pine for that kind of employment as a traveller which he 
felt to be his destiny. Who, in looking at the place now, can wonder at his resolution 
to prosecute his career in a more fitting field of enterprise ? Persons still alive in 
Peebles remember Mungo Park, and his Arabic teacher, Sidi Omback Boubi, a native 
of Mogadore. Omback the Moor, as he was familiarly styled, was a considerable 
marvel in his way to the people of Peebles ; for he was a stanch Mussulman in his 
belief and usages, and probably the only specimen of a Mohammedan who, by a 
singular conjuncture of circumstances, had ever been resident in the burgh. 


which, giving admission to the premises above, was once guarded 
with a gate, and secured the dwelling from intrusion. We 
consider that the building, as it stands, offers a good example 
of the better class of houses, erected by substantial burgesses 
early in the sixteenth century. 

Eastwards from this building, at the foot of a lane, is the 
existing portion of the town-wall previously pictured. It is in a 
line with the wall on the inner side of the Vennel, at the head of 
which was the East Port. At this point, the Vennel terminates 
in a long white building, of not a very ancient date, which used 
to be called Quebec Hall, from having been the residence of 
Francis Russell, Esq., late Director of the Military Hospital at 

The corner building on the left, in turning from the High 
Street into the Northgate, is known as the Cunzie Neuk. As 
the building is apparently not older than the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, the name is inherited from a house previously 
on the spot, which is spoken of as the Cunzie, or Cunye, as early 
as 1473. The designation is probably from coign, an old English 
term for corner. Opposite, on the east side of the entrance to 
the Northgate, and, like the Cunzie, fronting the old cross, 
formerly stood a handsome structure, partly of red sandstone, 
with an open arcade in front. This building, known as the 
Pillars, was alleged by tradition to have been the town-mansion 
of the family of Posso ; falling into ruin, in the early part of the 
present century, it was removed, to make way for some substan- 
tial but plain tenements. 

Another edifice requiring particular notice, is that forming 
an inn in the Northgate, of which a representation has been 
given in fig. 27. It is located at the further side of a court- 
yard, which is entered by an old-fashioned gateway (lately 
widened), over which is placed a sun-dial. From this gate- 
way the inn was formerly known as the Yett ; but the name 
it now bears is the Cross-Keys. The building possesses some 
characteristic features of the seventeenth century. Carved in 
stone, is the date 1653 ; and, by a particular arrangement of 



slates, on the roof, are the letters W. W., in reference to the 

original proprietor. The 
house, as previously men- 
tioned, was the town- 
mansion of the family of 
Williamson of Cardrona. 
From being a possession 
of this family, the house 
subsided into a hotel, 
early in last century. We 
learn from a manuscript 
Fig- 35- -The Yett. o f Bishop Forbes of Leith, 

descriptive of his tour in Peeblesshire in 1769, that in that year 
the house was occupied by ' Ritchie, Vintner.' Mr Ritchie was 
succeeded by his two daughters, Miss and Miss Willie Ritchie, 
by whom the inn and posting business was here carried on till 
comparatively recent times. Previous to the completion of the 
Tontine Hotel in 1808, Miss Ritchie, who was a character in her 
way, reigned in Peebles without a rival. 1 

Northwards from the Cross-Keys, at the head of Usher's 
Wynd, may be seen some fragments of the old town-wall ; 
the street at this point being the site of the northern port. 
Exterior to this spot, the Northgate is a comparatively modern 
suburb, of which the oldest edifice is one with a pointed gable to 
the street, bearing the date 1681. According to tradition, this 
building at one time constituted the fashionable assembly-room 
of the county. 

1 Of the new and more fashionable establishment, she always spoke with that 
ineffable scorn which Scott ascribes in similar circumstances to 'Meg Dods of the 
Clcikum Inn,' St Ronan's, of whom Miss Ritchie is believed to have been the proto- 
type. Wilh her eccentricities and rough independence of manner, it is something, at 
all events, to say of this landlady of the olden time, that in the management of her 
tavern affairs she always displayed a conscientious regard for the interests of her 
customers ; so that after a certain, and as she thought adequate, quantity of liquor had 
been consumed, no persuasions could induce her to furnish means for fresh pota- 
tions ; and when gentlemen were disposed to sit rather late not an uncommon event 
sixty years since she very unceremoniously told them that they had had enough, and 
ordered them ' to gang hatne to their wives and bairns.' 


In the western part of the High Street, where the buildings 
have been generally modernised, there are no relics of antiquity. 
The last of the vaulted houses in this quarter disappeared some 
years ago, along with the projecting outside-stairs, which were 
once common in all parts of the town. The oldest date on any 
of the houses is 1648, in raised figures on a red stone lintel, 
rebuilt into a new house in one of the closes. Of the chapel of 
the Virgin, which stood with its steeple half across the street, 
nothing remains. At this point, the roadway has been consider- 
ably lowered to admit of more commodious access to the two 
bridges, and also to the County-Hall, a modern structure (1844), 
with poor accommodation, placed in contiguity with the Prison. 
Though much spoiled by the station of the Caledonian Railway 
Company, the view from Tweed Bridge remains the finest thing 
about Peebles. The green, also, continues to be a pleasant feature 
of the town, bounded on one side by gardens, and on the other by 
the river. All the gardens have access to the green by doorways, 
of one of which that to the old garden of the Earls of March, 
now belonging to the Chambers Institution we offer a sketch 
at the close of the present chapter. It is worthy of notice, that 
the Tweed at Peebles had, in early times, parted into two or 
more branches. One of these proceeded from a point opposite 
the embouchure of Eddleston Water down Ninian's Haugh, 
while another went along the north side of the green, and so 
on down the hollow called the Gytes. 1 These ancient channels 
were still discernible fifty years ago, but have been since 
obliterated by levelling and draining. The present run of the 
Tweed was probably executed about the time of building the 

The modern parish church, the unfortunate spire of which has 
been already noticed, was erected at the joint expense of the 
town and heritors ; the town bearing the principal part of the 
expense, by a method of selling pews to families. B. R. In 
the gallery, fronting the pulpit, is a seat appropriated to the 

1 Gytt, or Gicht (the g hard), is a word from the Celtic ; it signifies a species of 
cleft or ravine, and is applicable to a water-course under an overhanging bank. 


magistrates and council, who are escorted hither by officers in 
scarlet uniform, bearing halberts, on Sunday. A clock, with 
transparent dials, recently placed in the steeple, is illuminated 
at night with gas. The steeple has three bells, but only on 
one is there an inscription, along with the town arms. Tke 
inscription is in Latin, and purports that the bell was cast in 
1714 by Robert Maxwell, Edinburgh. 

The church possesses three silver communion cups, which have 
come down as an heritage since the period of Episcopacy, 
previous to the Revolution, when Peebles was a rectory in union 
with Manor. These cups, as appears from inscriptions in Latin 
round the rim, were respectively gifted to the church. On the 
first cup is the following inscription Legato pio Alexdri Wfone 
urbis Prcefecti vigilentis, curd Ja: W m fone a Cardrona filii et 
haredis. An: S. 1684. (Translation By the pious bequest 
of Alexander Williamson, the vigilant provost of the burgh, 
through the care of James Williamson, of Cardrona, his son and 
heir. In the year of the Saviour 1684.) On the second cup 
Legato pio IO : GO VAN Peeblen. Edinburgi qticestor. Fidelis, 
curdM' IO: FRANK: R: S. Scri: An: S. 1684. (Transla- 
tion By the pious bequest of John Govan, native of Peebles, 
faithful treasurer of Edinburgh ; through the care of John Frank, 
writer to the royal signet. In the year of the Saviour 1684.) On 
the third cup v a * M" : IO : HA Y Rectoris de Peebles et 
Mener. An: S. 1684. (Translation Under this sign conquer. 
[The gift of] Mr John Hay, Rector of Peebles and Manor. In 
the year of the Saviour 1684.) The church also possesses a 
laver and basin, bearing to be gifts from the [first] Earl of March. 
Each of the vessels has the following inscription This Laver 
and Bason was gifted by William Earl of March, to the Kirk of 
Peebles, in the year 1 702. Arms of March, with the motto 

By a bridge of a single arch from the New to the Old Town, 
we cross Eddleston Water, or Cuddy t as it is locally termed. At 
the north end of the bridge, there exists an old house called the 
Virgin Inns, on the gable of which is a stone tablet, bearing 


a large figure 4, executed in an ornamental manner, and the date 
1736, at which time the tenement was erected by James Little, 
merchant, son of Adam Little of Wink- 
ston. A sketch of the stone is annexed. 
As regards the figure 4, it appears to 
have been a symbol of mercantile pur- 
suits. On old tombstones in other parts 
of Scotland (and also, as we have seen, 
in Holland), the same emblem may be ri - 36. 

observed. Fifty years ago, the figure was painted and gilt on 
several sign-boards in Peebles, but of these we believe no speci- 
men now remains. 

The Virgin Inns forms the corner building, at the opening of 
the thoroughfare called Biggiesknowe, from which a sloping 
pathway at one time diverged towards the ford opposite St 
Michael's Wynd. The entrance to this ancient pathway is still 
discernible in the approach to one of the houses, which stands a 
little back. At the further extremity of Biggiesknowe, a paved 
roadway formed a principal access to the Cross Church ; it is 
now encroached upon by the new buildings in and about Elcho 
Street. The houses of Biggiesknowe, though part of the Old 
Town, are all comparatively modern. The only one bearing a 
date is a neat two-story dwelling, with its windows overlooking 
Eddleston Water, over the door of which are the figures 1796. 
This house was erected by the late Mr James Chambers, and 
here his two elder sons, William and Robert Chambers, were 
born ; the former in 1800, the latter in 1802. 

The Old Town contains no bastel-houses, a circumstance indica- 
tive of its general desertion previous to the wars which ensued 
on the death of Alexander III. ; nor does it possess any ancient 
remains, excepting the ruins of the two old ecclesiastical struc- 
tures. It consists chiefly of a humble class of dwellings, some 
of them thatched, as is still common with suburbs in several 
Scottish towns. Ascending from the lower to the higher part, 
we find the ancient spacious market-place, circumscribed only by 
the encroachment of some modern buildings on its southern side. 


This open space was in the centre of Peebles before it attained 
to the character of a royal burgh, or suffered from the devastating 
border wars. Spreading northwards over the alluvial plain, the 
town, as previously stated, extended over a much larger space 
than it now occupies, and according to tradition, stretched from 
the Meadow-well strand on the west, to Eddleston Water on the 
east, involving within its bounds the Church of St Andrew and 
the Church of the Holy Cross. 

Now undistinguished, the Old Town lies on the road to Neid- 
path Castle, from which, when at its full extent, it was only about 
half a mile distant. In the present day, all is in the condition of 
open fields west of the churchyard, which forms the limit of 
the town in this direction. In front of the burying-ground, 
pleasantly situated on the Tweed, is a villa, called Hay Lodge, 
built on ground feued from the town in 1771, by Captain Adam 
Hay of Soonhope. B. R. 

The ruins of the venerable Church of St Andrew the church 
founded by Bishop Jocelin of Glasgow in 1195 can hardly be 
considered devoid of interest, for they are about the oldest archi- 
tectural remains in Peeblesshire ; and the institution which once 
here flourished, is noticed in charters of various kinds for several 
hundreds of years. The edifice, built of the undressed hard 
stone of the district, could never have possessed any external 
elegance ; but it was spacious, with a tall square tower at its 
west end, and contained a number of well-endowed altars, at one 
of which the souls of several Scottish kings were long prayed 
for. Like many nobler structures, it was stripped at the Reforma- 
tion, and its revenues confiscated and dispersed. For some time 
after this event, it is understood to have been used as the parish 
church ; and if there be any faith in legends, its roof gave shelter 
to the troops of Cromwell, when laying siege to Neidpath. 
Abandoned as the parish church, it sunk to ruin ; and, for 
upwards of a century, the structure has consisted only of a few 
broken walls, and the massive tower, which, knit together like a 
rock, and overgrown with yellow lichen, seems to bid defiance 
to all the blasts which may sweep down the Vale of Tweed for 



centuries to come. With flooring long since gone, its interior is 
now dotted over with tumuli and modern grave-stones, as repre- 
sented in the sketch, fig. 37. 

Fig. 37. Ruins of St Andrew's Church. 

The burying-ground, large and secluded, but without walks through 
it, and otherwise in a far from creditable condition, comprehends several 
fine old tombstones, with poetical and other inscriptions worthy of 
notice. And here, again, shines out conspicuously the good taste of a 
former period in art, which seems to have survived till the beginning of 
the eighteenth century. The more interesting of these old monuments, 
which are in the form of throuchs, or flat table-like stones, are situated in 
the eastern division of the ground. Perhaps the oldest of all is that 
belonging to the family of Tweedie, once in flourishing circumstances in 
the burgh. It bears the name of John Tweedie, bailie, who died 1699 ; 
another John Tweedie, provost, who died 1712, besides wives, sons, and 
daughters. In allusion to the number who have been conveyed to the 
dust, are the following lines : 

1 A silent, scatter'd flock about they lie, 
Free from all toil, care, grief, fear, envy; 
But yet again they all shall gather'd be, 
When the last awful trumpet soundeth hie. ' 

This old stone, which is fast sinking into ruin, abounds in well- executed 
figures, emblematic of the four seasons : a husbandman with a sheet 



round his shoulders, in the act of sowing ; a woman with a garland of 
flowers in her hand ; a young man with a reaping-hook lying over his 
arm ; and a boy with his hands to his mouth a significant representa- 
tion of winter. 

At a short distance may be seen the old throuch-stone of the Hopes, 
a rival in point of elegance to that of the Tweedies. Thomas Hope 
was town-treasurer at the beginning of last century, and was buried here 
along with his son and daughter-in-law. The figures of these two last- 
mentioned persons, carved in bold relief on the stone, afford a striking 
idea of the costume of the reign of William III. The date, 1704, is still 
visible, and we can also decipher the following lines : 

' Here lie three Hopes enclosed within, 
Death's prisoners by Adam's sin ; 
Yet rest in Hope that they shall be 
Set by the Second Adam free.' 

The Hopes are now extinct in Peebles : the family merged in that of 
the late Provost Smibert, who was interred in this spot. 

In and about the ruins of the church, there are some monuments of 
old date. One, a throuch recently repaired, is that which marks the 
burying-place of the family of Chambers for several hundred years ; also, 
the family of Muir, to whom they were related. On the stone, there was 
formerly visible, in a dilapidated condition, the following epitaph : 

In Peebles town there lived a man, 

His name it was John Muir, 

And Lillias Ker, his loving wife ; 

Of this I am right sure. 

A proper girl these two they had, 

Of age fifteen did die, 

And, by the providence of God, 

Beneath this stone doth lie. 

She was her parents' only child, 

In her they pleasure had, 

But since by death she is removed, 

Their hearts are very sad. 

Her name was called Helen Muir, 

Both modest, mild, and meek, 

She comely in her person was, 

And every way complete. 

But here her dust it must remain, 

Until the judgment-day, 

And then it shall be raised again ; 

This is the truth I say. 

Then soul and body shall unite, 

And never parted be, 

To sing the praises of her God 

Through all eternity.' 

On a slope on the side of the stone, were the following additional lines : 

' Beneath this stone, in ground, y e seed is sown, 
Of such a flower, tho' fallen, ere full grown ; 
And will when doom the saints first spring on high, 
Be sweet and pure as the celestial sky.' 

Inserted in the north side of the steeple is a plain tablet to the 
memory of Robert Gibson, and his family, with the date 1736, and these 
lines : 


' My glass is run, 

And yours is running , 
Repent in time, 
For judgment 's coming.' 

On a stone to the memory of Andrew Brown, who died 1743 : 

' Farewell, dear wife and children all ! 

Where you may still remain, 
The Lord of Hosts be your defence 
Till we shall meet again.' 

We have space to notice only one more of these old monuments, a 
decaying upright stone, with some neat carving, erected in memory of 
Anne Hay, wife of James Veitch, merchant, with the date 1704. It 
contains a few lines, scarcely rhyme, the affectionate breathing of an 
attached husband : 

' No costly marble 

Need on her be spent, 
Her deathless worth 
Is her best monument.' 

Near the gate is the Strangers' Nook, and here, in passing out, will be 
observed some monuments erected over the remains of officers of militia, 
who died in Peebles, when it was a military de'pot fifty years ago. 
Adjoining are the graves of several French officers, who died while 
residing as prisoners of war on parole. 

At nearly a quarter of a mile eastwards, on the same level 
plain, stand the ruins of the Cross Church, founded in 1261, and 
which, after the desertion of the Church of St Andrew, subsided 
into the parish church. As such it was used until the completion 
of the new church in 1784, but not without having the eastern 
gable rebuilt, in which is a doorway with the inscription over it, 
' Feire God, 1656.' As late as 1808, the whole fabric was entire 
except the roof ; but since about that time, the sandstone rybats 
having been improperly abstracted, the building has shrunk to 
an utter ruin. 1 About the same size as the Church of St Andrew, 
it had not been nearly so well built, for it seems to have yielded 

1 In 1809, an application was made by some people in Mid-Lothian to turn the 
ruin into a d6p6t for the sale of coal to the town and neighbourhood. B. R. The 
proposition met with the approval of Provost Smibert, who procured the assent of the 
Duke of Queensberry, proprietor of the ground and precincts. From this degradation, 
the ancient church of the Haly Rude where kings had knelt, and to which hosts of 
pious pilgrims had flocked to bow in veneration before the reliques of St Nicholas 
was fortunately spared, in consequence of the parties interested having abandoned 
their intention. 



rapidly to decay, and much of the square tower at the 
western extremity has given way within the last few years. 
The church had five windows on the southern side, in which 
was the main entrance. Between the third window and the 
door, there was a small arched aperture, so constructed as 
to render it probable that a figure of St Nicholas with the 
Holy Cross had been placed there ; so 
that they might be seen by devotees 
without as well as within the church. In 
fig- 38, we offer a representation of St 
Nicholas with his cross, or ' holy rood,' in 
his hand, as the figure probably appeared 
in the church. On the south-west corner 
of the tower may still be seen, about 
ten feet from the ground, the remains of 
a niche, in which the figure of a saint 
had likewise been placed. The cloisters 
and other buildings occupied by the 
monastics of the establishment, were situ- 
ated in a quadrangle on the north side of 
the church, some portions of which were 

Fig. 38. -St Nicholas. 

visible in the early years of the present century. Since that 
time, the ground has been levelled and planted. Adjoining the 
church, like a transept on the north, was a gallery, forming a 
species of apartment appropriated to the Earls of March, and 
beneath it was the burial-vault of the family ; it is now a shape- 
less green mound. On the south side, are burial enclosures ; 
one, which is said to have originally belonged to the Earls of 
Morton, is now the burial-place of the family of Erskine of 
Venlaw. The other, now renovated, is that of the Hays of 
Haystoun ; and it is proper to say that, at the expense of 
this family, the whole place is now kept in excellent order. A 
view of the ruins from the southern side is given in fig. 39 (see 
following page). 

Looking at the relative situations of the two churches, and the 
existing roadway between them, there can be no doubt that they 


were originally connected by a street, which formed a thorough- 
fare for ecclesiastics and the crowds of pilgrims which came to 
perform acts of devotion at the different shrines, that of St 
Nicholas in particular. From the New Town, the direct approach 
to the Cross Church was by the Kirk-gait or paved way above 
alluded to, which communicated with the Briggate; and such 
would be the passage ordinarily used by the Dean of Tweeddale. 
Another approach, probably more employed by pilgrims from a 

Fig- 39- Ruins of the Cross Church. 

distance, was by a winding lane on the east to a ford, or series 
of steps across Eddleston Water, which communicated with two 
roads one towards Edinburgh, by way of Smithfield Castle, the 
other along the foot of Venlaw Hill, towards the east country. 
Though dreadfully cut up by railway operations, these ancient 
roads are still here and there to be traced. If the several rail- 
ways which have made Peebles their centre, are to be execrated 
for ruthlessly obliterating memorials of the past, they are to be 
thanked for introducing life and enterprise into a place which 
had been long listless and without faith in the future. It 


certainly is not the least surprising of the changes now in opera- 
tion, that the plain once covered by the Old Town is in the 
course of being again occupied by streets ; and that Peebles, as 
a whole, is soon likely to assume a greatly modernised appear- 
ance. As stated in the preceding chapter, its old corn-mill on 
the Tweed, about which there used to be endless contests 
respecting thirlage and multures, has been superseded by one 
of those extensive manufactories of woollens which have given 
reputation to the south of Scotland. 

We may now turn to a few miscellaneous particulars concerning 
the town and its institutions. 

Being the county town, Peebles has a resident sheriff-substitute ; 
and the sheriff-depute makes periodical visits from Edinburgh. 
By these functionaries, courts are regularly held. On the decease 
of the sheriff-depute, his office, by statutory arrangement, 
merges in that of the sheriff of Edinburghshire. Twice a 
year, at stated times, meetings of the Commissioners of Supply 
for the County take place in Peebles, when committees are 
appointed in connection with the system of police and other 

At the Reformation, certain vicarage tithes connected with the 
parish lapsed, with other ecclesiastical property, into the hands of 
lay impropriators. The patron of the church now gives a person 
authority to draw a share of the vicarage tithes for his own 
behoof, amounting to between 17 and 18 a year. This person 
is called the ' Vicar of Peebles,' and is ordinarily the precentor 
in the parish church. The sum he levies from each house is 
exceedingly small. 

As in Scottish towns generally, the ecclesiastical institutions of 
Peebles have been multiplied by secession and other causes, 
since 1690. Besides the Established Church, there is a Free 
Church, and also two churches connected with the United Pres- 
byterian body. In the town, there is likewise an Episcopal 
chapel, and a Roman Catholic chapel. Peebles is the seat of a 
Presbytery of the Established Church, but there is no official 
place of meeting. 


The burgh sustains two public schools, one at which instruc- 
tion is given in classical languages, and other for English and 
elementary instruction ; the style of teaching in both being very 
different from that which prevailed sixty years since. The 
two houses are plain structures fronting the green, which is 
used as a playground. The burgh gives the occupancy of a 
house to the rector of the Grammar-school, for the purpose of 
accommodating boarders. There are some other schools in 
the town and neighbourhood, including a boarding-school 
for young gentlemen, and a similar establishment for young 

On Tuesday, every week, a market is held in Peebles for the 
sale of grain. After having gone almost into disuse, the market 
was successfully revived in November 1855, in consequence of the 
means for carriage presented by the railway. Oats and barley 
are the kinds of grain principally sold. The barley of Peebles- 
shire is considered to be particularly fine, and readily meets with 
purchasers. At these markets, there are usually monthly sales 
by auction of cattle and sheep, for the transport of which the 
railway has also offered facilities. 

A Horticultural Society now established some years, for 
promoting improvements in, and a taste for, gardening and 
flower-culture throughout the county has met with much 
encouragement, and is understood to have had exceedingly 
beneficial effects. It conducts a prize exhibition twice in 
the year these very interesting popular Flower-shows being 
held in a pavilion canvas tent, erected for the purpose on the 

Natives of Peebles at a distance, and others who are some way 
connected with the place and its neighbourhood, are noted for 
the interest they take in all that concerns the old burgh. Several 
associations are therefore formed by persons so interested ; the 
oldest dating from 1782, being the Edinburgh Social Peeblcan 
Society, and another being the Edinburgh Native Peeblean 

During keen frosts in winter, when the air is clear and 


bracing, and the pools frozen over, curling takes place on a 
pond set apart for the purpose near the bridge, on the south side 
of the river. Men of all ranks indulge in this exhilarating winter 
sport, with all the keenness usual in the south of Scotland. 
There is a Curling Club, to which, in 1823, the late Sir John Hay 
presented a silver medal. This is played for every year, and 
worn by the successful competitor. On December 3, 1830, Sir 
John Hay further presented a massive silver buckle, embellished 
with characteristic insignia, and a leather belt. This Belt of 
Victory is contended for annually by the married men and 
bachelors on the curling-pond. It can easily be imagined that 
these, independently of other curling matches, in no small degree 
enliven the community of Peebles during the severities of winter 
more particularly as they are, for the most part, followed by a 
festive dinner, at which figures in profusion the indispensable 
' curler's fare.' 

In summer, the wonted place of resort is a Bowling-green, 
situated behind the church. The green is well kept, and open to 
all on paying a small fee. There is a choice collection of bowls ; 
some of them having been brought hither, and left for public 
use, by gentlemen in the town and neighbourhood long since 
deceased. The names and dates are inscribed on silver plates 
on the sides of the bowls. Among others, we notice one pair 
marked, 'John Grieve, 1786 ;' one pair, 'John Marshall, surgeon, 
1786 ;' and one pair, * Francis Russell, Esq., 1786.' There are 
several pairs with names and dates wholly or partially oblite- 

Occasionally, the Royal Archers of Scotland visit Peebles for 
a day's practice. Pitching their butts on Tweed Green, or on 
Ninian's Haugh, opposite, they compete for a silver arrow ; or, 
more correctly, for the right to append a medal to the arrow. 
So little appears to be generally known respecting the Peebles 
Silver A rrow, that we have taken some interest in investigating 
its appearance and history. 

The arrow is a stalk of silver, with a flattened and barbed 
point, and is about fifteen inches in length. Attached to the 


stalk by small silver rings and chains, from the point downwards, 
but in no very regular order as to date, are twenty-three silver 
medals or other objects, respectively bearing the names and 
coats-of-arms of the winners. Neither the burgh records nor the 
archives of the Royal Archers present any account of the origin 
of the arrow ; but it carries with it conclusive evidence of its 
history. By a legible inscription on the flattened point, it 
purports to have been ' Presented by James Williamson, provost 
of Peebles,' the same who signed the National Covenant and 
Confession of Faith in 1638. What length of time Williamson 
had been provost before 1638, cannot now be determined with 
precision, for the records of the burgh at this period are lost. It 
may be averred, however, that his provostship had begun pre- 
viously to 1628, for that is the date of the oldest medal appended 
to the arrow. It will then be understood that the Peebles 
Silver Arrow dates at least from the year 1628, in the reign of 
Charles I., but may be a few years older. We are inclined to 
think that it is not quite so ancient as the Musselburgh Arrow, 
the earliest competition for which, according to the records of 
the Royal Archers, was in 1603. 

A remarkable circumstance is connected with the history of 
the Peebles Arrow. The dates of the twenty-three medals 
extend from 1628 to 1835 ; but there occurs a blank from 1664 
to 1786 a period of 122 years, during which not a single medal 
is appended. Where the arrow had been throughout this long 
interval, is not known to the Company of Royal Archers ; for it 
appears to have been originally kept at Peebles, and has only 
come into the custody of the Archers in comparatively recent 
times. Tradition supplies some information on the subject. 
According to the account of an aged person in Peebles, the silver 
arrow was found concealed in the wall of the building latterly 
occupied by the town-council, when some remains of that edifice 
(formerly the Chapel of the Virgin) were removed about 1780. 
The conclusion to be formed is, that the town-treasurer had 
concealed the arrow in the wall of the council-chamber at the 
commencement of the religious troubles in Scotland, 1675, and 


that its hiding-place being forgotten, it only came accidentally 
to light when the building was finally removed, more than a 
hundred years afterwards. 

The Peebles Silver Arrow is now preserved, with other 
muniments of the Royal Company, at Archers' Hall, Edin- 
burgh. 1 

Peebles has a Kilwinning Lodge of Freemasons, the constitu- 
tion of which dates from October 18, 1716. The body after- 
wards formed part of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, when that 
comprehensive institution was constituted in 1736 ; and in which 
it is enrolled No. 24. The building occupied by the Lodge is in 
the Northgate, and is partly used as a tavern. Motto carved 

1 The following is a list of earlier medals attached to the arrow, taking them in the 
order of their respective dates, (i.) 'M. J. D., 1628.' (2.) 'J. S., 1661 ;' on back, 
coat of arms. (3. ) ' Alex. Hay, bower [to] his majestic, wan this arrow the monath 
of May 1663 ;' on back, coat of arms. (4.) ' Robert Childers, trumpeter and sadler to 
the king and the gude tune of Edinburgh. Content I am with all my heart, that he 
have for his desert, that gains the same whatever he be, by his skil of archerie. 
Robert Childers, trumpeter to his majesty, wan the silver arrow on ye 3d of May at 
Peebles 1664.' (5.) 'Thos. Elder, 5 June 1786;' on back, a crest with motto, 
Vlrtute Duce. (6.) 'Alex. Wallace, Peebles, 6 June 1787;' on back, crest with 
motto, Sperandiim Est. (7.) 'James Reid, 5 June 1788 ;' on back, crest with motto, 
Fortitudine et Labors, with 'Peebles' below. (8.) 'Rev. P. Robertson, Eddlestoun ;' 
on back, crest with motto, Virtutis Gloria Merces; with ' Peebles, 5 June 1789.' (9.) 
'Peebles, Alexander Lord Elibank, u Aug. 1790,' with crest and baron's coronet. 
(10.) 'Gained by Charles Hope, Esq., Advocate, II July 1791 ;' on back, coat of 
arms with motto, At Spes non Fracta. (n.) 'Alexander Lord Elibank, 9 July 1792 ;' 
on back, 'E.' and baron's coronet (12.) 'James Reid, Peebles, 8 July 1793 ;' with 
crest and motto, Fortittidine et Lahore. (13.) 'Won by James Hope, Writer to the 
Signet, 31 July 1 802 ;' on the back, motto, At Spes non Fracta. (14.) 'The Peebles 
Arrow won by John Russell, Clerk to the Signet, 6 Aug. 1803;' with coat of arms and 
motto, Agitatione Purgatur. (15.) ' Won by Dr Thomas Charles Hope, Professor of 
Chemistry, Edinburgh, 4 Aug. 1804 ;' with arms and motto, At Spes non Fracta. 
(i 6.) 'Alexander Lord Elibrmk, 2 Aug. 1806;' with crest and baron's coronet, and 
motto, Virtute Fideque. (17.) A Silver Anchor, inscribed with ' Capt. D. Milne, 
R.N., iSio.' (18.) ' Gained by Thomas Richardson, Writer to the Signet, 21 Aug. 
1813;' with crest and motto, Virtute Acquiritur Honor. (19.) ' The Peebles Arrow 
won by John Linning, Accountant of Excise, 7 Sep. 1816 ;' with arms and motto, 
Virtute et Lahore. (20.) ' Gained by James Brown, Accountant in Edinburgh, 29 Aug. 
and 7 Sep. 1818 ;' with arms and motto, Floreat Majcstas. (21.) 'Peebles Arrow 
won by John Maxton, wine-merchant, Leith, 27 Sep. 1828, who also gained this year 
the other three arrows ;' crest, a bee, with motto, Providus Esto. (22.) 'The Peebles 
Silver Arrow was gained on 26 July 1833, by Henry Geo. Watson, Accountant, 
Treasurer to the Royal Company ;' crest with motto, Impirato Floruit. (23.) Same 
inscription as last, with date, '8 August 1835.' 


over the door : /;/ Deo est Omnia Fides ; date of the building, 
1773. In the hall of the Lodge is a picture of the late Sir John 
Hay, painted by Mr John Ballantyne, Edinburgh, 1843 J being 
ordered by the Lodge as a mark of respect and esteem for the 
memory of the late provincial ' Grand-master. 

According to the calendar, Peebles has a number of fairs in 
the course of the year ; but except for special purposes, these 
ancient gatherings have dwindled into comparative insignificance. 
The following are the fairs actually in operation : Fastens E'en 
Fair, on the first Tuesday of March, for hiring male and female 
farm-servants. 1 Beltane Fair, second Wednesday in May, for 
hiring farm-servants, and some other purposes. Wool Fair, 
Tuesday after the i8th of July. The greater part of the wool in 
the county is usually disposed of at this fair; prices being generally 
regulated by St Boswell's Fair, which takes place on the i8th. 
Hiring Market, for male and female farm-servants, on the second 
Tuesday of October. Siller Fair, Tuesday before the I2th of 
December. This is a settling-day among farmers and others for 
many transactions during the season. Lime, drainage materials, 
and other articles connected with farming, are paid for this day, 
which is accordingly the busiest day with the banks during the 
whole year, and everything is usually most satisfactorily 
arranged. As merely festive occasions, the fairs of Peebles have 
greatly declined in attractiveness ; nor are they any longer the 
resort of tradesmen for the sale of their different wares. Fifty 
years ago, when they maintained something like their ancient 
character, they were frequented by a miscellaneous class of 
dealers, who set up booths in the street. It is interesting, as a 
matter of tradition, to recollect that, on these occasions, the 
stranger shoe-dealers who attended were not, by civic ordinance, 
allowed to uncover their goods till a bell, called the ' Shoemakers' 
Bell,' rung at one o'clock ; such being the means adopted to give 
the native shoemakers a monopoly until that hour. In the 

1 About the beginning of the present century, it was a custom in Peebles to begin 
to take tea by daylight on Fasten's E'en fair-day, and to commence the same meal by 
candle-light on Eddleston fair-day (Sept. 25). 


present day, with enlarged views, this and other antiquated 
usages have entirely vanished ; and strangers of every class, 
besides being allowed free commercial scope, are received with 
every token of hospitality. 

The municipal government of Peebles has been described 
as consisting of a council of seventeen members, but in virtue of 
a recent statute, the number is now reduced to twelve, including a 
provost and two bailies, the whole elected by popular franchise. 
The proceedings of this civic corporation, as has been shewn, 
were conducted for a considerable number of years under the 
seal of secrecy ; but even after the oath to that effect was 
dispensed with, the business of the council continued to be 
performed in that unsatisfactory manner common to the Scottish 
burghs generally, which at length, as arising out of an imperfect 
system of nomination, led to the well-known measure of reform 
in 1833. Unfortunately, the history of the town-council of 
Peebles, previous to that reconstruction, cannot but suggest 
painful reflections to any one interested in the good name and 
welfare of the ancient community. Endowed with possessions 
amply sufficient for all the wants of the municipality, how have 
these grand old heritages been suffered to disappear, leaving 
scarcely traces of the manner of their loss or disposal ! Faint 
as these traces are in the imperfect records of the burgh, we 
shall attempt to bring them together, and make out a con- 
nected, though not very satisfactory, narrative. 

By the gifts of several Scottish sovereigns, beginning with 
David I., Peebles was invested with a number of extensive 
commons, which lay all round the town, some near at hand, and 
others at a distance of several miles. Valuable as pasturages for 
cattle, and also for supplying turf for fuel, these commons were 
assigned to the magistrates and council for the benefit of the 
whole community, and properly cared for, might now, under a 
system of leasing to tenants, have yielded a large annual revenue. 
Long before James IV., however, had given his charter to the 
town, the corporation had begun to divest itself of this species of 
inheritance. As early as 1472, the magistrates and council, for 



some unknown reason, resigned Caidmuir, in favour of individual 
burgesses, among whom that common was partitioned in shares 
or soums, corresponding in amount to their respective tenements, 
to which the privilege of ' souming and rouming ' was in future 
to be heritably attached. 

In 1655, the burgh acquired additional lands at Caidmuir, 
which had been the subject of dispute with Scott of Hundles- 
hope, and the purchase-money being raised among the burgesses, 
they received an equivalent accession of soums. As far as we 
can learn, the whole of the house-proprietors in Peebles were 
now heritors of Caidmuir, to the extent of from one to three 
soums each ; while the burgh, in its corporate capacity, had 
reserved to itself nothing but the trouble and expense of 
managing the common property. In a memorial on the subject, 
in 1762, the magistrates and council state 'that they have always 
been managers of Caidmuir, and have from time to time been in 
use to nominate and appoint five persons one out of each 
quarter of the town to inspect and visit the said lands at 
clipping, souming, and rouming time, and smearing time, that 
the same might not be opprest by over soums or otherwise ; ' 
besides which, ' the town, out of the public revenue, have always 
been at the expense of maintaining and keeping up the herds' 
houses, and the minister's stipend ; ' and the only ' consideration 
the town had thereof was the lamb teind, and the teind of corn- 
land, when in tillage.' B. R. 

The original and long-entertained illusory notion was, that the 
soums were to remain inalienably attached to the tenements of 
the persons to whom they had been assigned ; whereas, in course 
of time, as might have been anticipated, they lapsed, as distinct 
properties, either into the hands of persons who possessed no 
tenement whatever, or of heritors who monopolised them as an 
investment. Against these unexpected transfers, the town 
could take no effectual steps, and at last not only sanctioned the 
general sale of soums, but became the purchaser of several that 
came into the market. Previous to discovering its error, in 
dismembering Caidmuir, and presumedly in the early part of 


the seventeenth century, the town-council committed a similar 
mistake in resigning the common of Venlaw, which was also 
divided into soums, for what equivalent is unknown. In 1765, 
a roll of the two classes of soum-holders is inscribed at length in 
the town books, 1 from which it appears that the entire number of 
soums was 270, whereof sixteen pertained to Venlaw. B. R. At 
this time, the ancient practice of 'souming and rouming' had 
been abandoned as regards both these commons, which were let 
on lease to tenant-farmers, who paid annual rents, that were 
divided among the heritors according to their respective propor- 
tions. Caidmuir and Venlaw were now practically the property 
of two joint-stock land companies, but with the qualification that 
the management and feudal superiority remained with the town. 

So far, the conduct of the magistrates and council is probably 
to be viewed as an error of judgment. On what follows, a less 
lenient sentence we fear will be pronounced. 

According to the charters, the town had a grant of Kingsmuir, 
a tract of land composing the slopes east from Edderston, which 
is believed to have, at some early period, included the whole 
or part of Whitehaugh Muir, anciently the scene of the yearly 
Beltane festival. Whatever were the original dimensions of 
King's Muir, it in time consisted only of the lands adjoining 
Edderston on the west, and Frank's Croft on the north which 
croft was, in all likelihood, at one time a portion of the same 
common. Thus circumscribed, King's Muir was still a valuable 
inheritance. Left alone, this finely-situated piece of ground 
now in course of being covered with villas might have done 
credit to the town as a public park, or yielded a considerable 
annual rental ; but such was not to be its destiny. It pleased 
the council to find a reason for selling the larger portion, extend- 
ing to about thirty acres, at a price which one is almost ashamed 
to mention. The transaction is best described in the language 
of the records. 

1 This roll is curious, as shewing not only who were the respectable burgesses, and 
the quarter of the town in which they lived, in 1765, but the names of the original 
soum-holders in 1462 and 1655. It is a kind of old street-directory of Peebles. 


1737, June 20. The council taking into serious consideration that 
the muir, called the King's Muir, belonging to the town, near the burgh, 
is of little use, and yields small benefit to the inhabitants, and which, if 
it were improved into arable land, would tend greatly to the good and 
advantage of the inhabitants, resolve to apply to the Convention of 
Royal Burghs for an act to set off the muir in acres, and sell and dispone 
the same to the inhabitants at a price, and paying a yearly feu for the use 
of the burgh. B. R. 1739, March 14. The council appoint Monday 
the 2d of April next, to sell the King's Muir at public roup, now 
measured off in acres ; no person to be allowed to purchase above two 
acres till the whole inhabitants refuse the same. The upset price to be 
fifty merks per acre, and each offer half a merk at least ; each acre is to 
be chargeable with a feu-duty of half a merk yearly. B. R. 

The greater part of King's Muir was accordingly disposed of 
in small lots ; the purchasers being members of the town- 
council, the provost included, and others. The price obtained 
was generally from fifty to sixty merks Scots per acre, but in a 
few instances it was as high as a hundred and seventy merks. 
Reckoning that the average price was sixty merks (or 3, 6s. &/. 
sterling) per acre, the gross sum received would be about .100; 
but if the town fulfilled its obligation to surround the land with 
fences, it may be doubted if so much as ^50 would be realised. 
Of the small annual feu-duties which were to be paid, we do not 
see any account. A portion of the Muir was reserved for 
planting, and as far as we can judge, a few acres did not readily 
find purchasers. 

The council had now pursued two methods of impoverishment. 
There was a third, which consisted in dividing and subdividing 
commons with such proprietors in the neighbourhood as confi- 
dently put forward claims for their possession. To save law 
expenses, and avert the risk of losing the whole subjects in 
dispute, the town was usually glad to accept such a share of 
its own property as an arbitrator was indulgently disposed to 
assign. As the share so munificently granted, however, was 
afterwards liable to renewed claims, which, for the sake of peace 
and a desire to conciliate neighbours, were submitted to fresh 
arbitration, the morsels of land finally left to the community 



were in some cases so insignificant as to elude any notice in the 
records of the burgh. Thus, as will be immediately seen, great 
commons which figure in the charters of James IV. and James 
VI. vanish from the roll of town property, and are no more heard 
of except as portions of the estates of the gentry in the neigh- 
bourhood. In the numerous transactions of this kind noticed 
in the records, it is often difficult to say whether the council 
should be blamed or pitied. Assuming that the royal charters 
were not delusive fictions, but credible documents in which 
the Scottish kings gave up the commons absolutely to the 
town, we can only regret that, either from want of proper infeft- 
ments, or from inattention, rights were allowed to grow up and be 
transferred through a regular progress of titles, adverse to the 
interests of the community. It is true the burgh officials, with 
a retinue of inhabitants, ' rode the commons ' once a year, in 
order to maintain the ancient rights of the town ; but these 
holiday excursions were occasionally interrupted by collisions 
with neighbouring herdsmen, or by angry protests ; and in any 
case, they failed to define whether the right claimed by the 
town was a mere servitude, such as the privilege of digging turf, 
or of feudal superiority and occupancy, and were consequently 
of little value. 

In the manner now stated, the proprietor of Cringletie, in the 
early part of the seventeenth century, seems to have acquired a 
valid claim over Hamildean, or, as it is sometimes called, Hamilton, 
Hill, which afterwards was the subject of vexatious litigation. 
A petition was presented to the Convention of Royal Burghs, 
July 7, 1714, in which the burgh of Peebles mournfully com- 
plains ' of the decayed condition and poverty of the said burgh, 
and that the property of the lands belonging thereto was invaded 
and attackt by several powerful neighbours, particularly the 
Laird of Cringletie, who was attempting to take their small 
property from them.' Compassionating this state of distress, the 
Convention 'appointed the commissioners of the burghs of 
Selkirk, Dumbarton, and Annan as a committee to meet with 
the Laird of Cringletie and others, at whose instance there is 


process depending ; and endeavour to adjust their differences, 
and bring them to an amicable accommodation, and report.' 
C. R. The differences were not adjusted. Founding on certain 
rights alleged to have been established in favour of a predecessor 
who was Laird of Cringletie in 1610, the Court of Session, in 
1717, decreed that Hamilton Hill belonged to the Cringletie 
estate, subject only to a servitude to the town, as regards turf- 
cutting and digging for stone and slate. Yet, as this decree 
was not hardly pressed, the notion that Hamilton Hill was 
altogether town property subsisted in Peebles for nearly a 
century ; and as such, was at times used for pasturage in the 
interests of the burgesses and heritors of Caidmuir. 

The next subject of dispute was the common of Glentress, a 
name vaguely applied to a series of connected and detached hill- 
pasturages stretching from near Milkiston to Shielgreen, and 
including the common of Winkston. To considerable portions 
of this extensive and ill-defined hill-tract, claims were preferred, 
about 1765, by three persons possessing adjacent properties 
James Williamson of Cardrona, Alexander Stevenson of Smith- 
field, and Alexander Murray of Cringletie ; and in the dilemma 
to which the town was put by this triple demand, it agreed to a 
submission of the case to Mr James Montgomery, Lord Advo- 
cate. In 1770, a fourth claimant made his appearance in the 
person of John Paterson of Windylaws, who modestly sought for 
only ' two or three acres ;' and by mutual agreement, his claim 
was submitted to Mr Wightman of Mauldslee. B. R. The end 
of these arbitrations was, that each claimant was confirmed in 
his right to a part of Glentress ; and the town was left, though 
not very securely, in possession of some portions, including 
Pilmuir, about which there were future contests. 

Shorn of its ancient possessions in this quarter, the town was 
fated to relinquish the common of Eshiels, which adjoined the 
farm of the same name belonging to Dr James Hay of Haystoun. 
Both as an improver and as a capitalist, Dr Hay was solicitous 
to annex the common, as a convenient hill-pasturage to the farm, 
and opened negotiations with the council for its purchase. What 


was its worth, according to the present value of this species of 
property, we will not venture to say. Dr Hay's offer was, at all 
events, such as now would scarcely be entertained. He offered 
to give the town 10 yearly, in perpetuity, for the common, on 
receiving a feu-charter. The sum was thought rather small ; but 
as Dr Hay was a good neighbour, and had offered to give the 
liberal subscription of 2$ towards the new parish church, his 
proposition was favourably received, and agreed to. B. R. 
Ultimately, however (Feb. 10, 1779), the bargain was altered in 
form. The town agreed to give up Eshiels Common unreservedly 
to Dr Hay, who, in return, was to give a portion of Soonhope 
equal in value to .10 per annum. On these terms, the arrange- 
ment was concluded, Dr Hay at the same time agreeing to a 
division of Soonhope, about which there seems to have been a 
competing claim by Sir James Naesmyth of Posso. Such divi- 
sion afterwards took place. B. R., Jan. 12, 1780. Where the 
town's share was situated, or how it was disposed of, does not 
appear, unless it was a piece of ground afterwards included in 
the property of Kerfield. 

That the members of council may have been chargeable with 
irregularities, in relinquishing tracts of land one after another, on 
a succession of not easily understood claims, is perhaps to be 
inferred from the following remarkable protest by Mr James 
Reid (afterwards provost), March 24, 1786: 'Mr Reid having 
formerly remonstrated against, so he must once more crave the 
attention of the council anent the disposal of the public commons, 
now divided and decreed to the town ; and whereas the title- 
deeds for these commons and Hamilton Hill were, and still are, 
solely in name and behalf of the community ; so, it appears to 
him most unwarrantable for this or any council to divide and 
share among themselves, and other heritors on Caidmuir, the 
$o yearly arising from said lands, when not a single claim 
was made by us, and above 100 guineas of the public money 
expended in the processes of division since 1760. Although the 
propriety of this conduct is not defended by any, yet being 
continued and slurred over, the fate of these commons may, in 


some short time, be the same as Caidmuir itself, illegally obtained 
for one-tenth of its purchase. Mr Reid again publicly repeats 
his disapprobation, and insists that this council submit the affair 
to some able and disinterested judge, and not seemingly pocket 
the public money, while they pay the expenses from the town's 
purse. Mr Reid declares that he has hitherto received his share 
of said $o, only as the money would at all rates be divided ; 
and he here protests that neither he nor his shall be liable for 
bygones, when some succeeding council (who aim at real and 
useful reform) shall with propriety reinstate the public in its just 
claims, and institute a well-founded action against every indi- 
vidual member, for his sharing in, and allowing such abstraction 
of, the public rents.' B. R. The council took no notice of this 
protest, of which, probably, the public knew nothing ; for, at this 
time, the affairs of the town were conducted under the strictest 
obligations of secrecy. 

We may now revert to Venlaw, which had been resolved into 
sixteen soums, the property of certain inhabitants. These soums 
having been bought up by Mr Ludovic Grant, in 1792, he 
requested to be invested in them by a charter from the town. 
But this the council refused to do, on the not unreasonable 
ground, that Mr Grant could not be placed in a better position 
than that which had been enjoyed by his predecessors, the soum- 
holders ; whereupon (Nov. 17) he sends a letter, which we almost 
wonder should have been put on record. After accusing the 
council of having, in previous times, made away surreptitiously 
with the property of the burgh, he says : ' Look at your own 
records ; lay your hands on your hearts, and say where is the 
justice in refusing to infeft me, who paid a full and adequate 
price, when you and your predecessors in office infeft one 
another in properties for which little or no value was paid, 
and defended that property at the expense of the corporation.' 
B. R. Unmoved by these stinging invectives, the council 
declined to give the infeftment in the terms craved ; but finally 
(Dec. 25) agreed to give a qualified charter, on Mr Grant resigning 
any claim he had on Pilmuir. According to this arrangement, 


the town reserved ' the privilege of water and quarrying stones,' 
also 'of a proper space for drying clothes and other articles;' and 
on the nth of April 1793, the town opened its first quarry in the 
hill. B. R. The burgh still retains these reserved rights. 

Pilmuir, which the town, by its fortitude, had rescued from the 
grasp of Mr Grant, now became a matter of dispute with ' Mr 
Williamson of Cardrona, and John Notman, his tenant in 
Hutcheonfield.' B. R. As Mr Williamson had formerly been 
assigned part of Glentress or Winkston Common, the town 
could scarcely have anticipated this second demand. The 
council, however, considered it proper to agree to the ' division 
of Pilmuir Common betwixt the town and the farm of 
Hutcheonfield.' B. R., May 28, 1795. The division having 
taken place, the fragment left to the town would seem to have 
been afterwards (May 22, 1802) excambed with Mr Williamson 
for land adjoining Shielgreen, since which, * Pilmuir ceases to 
be the subject of notice. 

Lulled into a feeling of security concerning Hamilton Hill, the 
council were much surprised when, one day in 1 802, they received 
a proposal from Mr James Wolfe Murray, sheriff of the county, 
to buy the town's servitude over that common, which, in other 
respects, he said, he already possessed. Thinking there must be 
some mistake, they politely requested to know on what Mr 
Murray founded the assumption of being proprietor of Hamilton 
Hill. Prepared for this inquiry, Mr Murray (Nov. 24) sent them 
a letter, embracing a succinct account of the decree of 1717. in 
favour of his predecessors ; upon which, the council firing up, 
call a meeting of the heritors of Caidmuir, to consider matters ; 
and the unanimous decision is to abide an action at law in 
support of the town's rights. There are some further animated 
proceedings, such as issuing a manifesto by tuck of drum (April 
23, 1803), directing ' the inhabitants to send all their cattle to 
Hamilton Hill to pasture,' and to make a regular perambula- 
tion of the marches with the attendant burgesses. B. R. 

Mr Murray having commenced a suit declaratory of his rights, 
in the Court of Session, the council found it necessary to procure 


the opinion of two eminent lawyers concerning their case. The 
persons pitched on were the Hon. Henry Erskine and John 
Clerk, who, after some consideration, gave it as their distinct 
opinion (March 17, 1804), that Mr Murray's claim was indisput- 
able, in consequence of being founded on properly-obtained 
charters of resignation and novodamus, along with regular infeft- 
ments ; whereas the town could shew nothing but its royal 
charters, on which no infeftments had ever been taken. B. R. 
Supposing this opinion to have been correct, and that it could 
be applied to the commons generally, we have an explanation, in 
few words, of the mysterious facility with which the town was 
bereft of possessions conferred on it by its charters. The negli- 
gence which could authorise such an opinion from legal advisers 
does not need to be specially characterised. Finding that their 
case was hopeless, the council adjusted differences with Mr 
Murray ; he keeping his acquired rights, and the town continuing 
to enjoy its right of servitude ; which resolving itself practically 
into a right to dig turf for the use of the inhabitants, is now of 
comparatively little use. An old drove-road, for the furtherance 
of cattle southwards, still subsists across the hill. 

According to the charter of James VI., Peebles was endowed 
with considerable ecclesiastical property, of which, however, it is 
not now possible, from either record or tradition, to present any 
account. The town was also invested with ' fishings,' but these, 
like the commons, were often the subject of dispute, and vanished 
in a manner quite as unsatisfactory. Becoming matter of litiga- 
tion in the Court of Session, Lord Monboddo decided, November 
15, 1779, that Peebles possessed the right of fishing only so far 
as its own lands extended ; in which decision the town-council 
acquiesced, and the ' fishing case was ordered to be stopped.' 
B. R. By dealings subsequently with Dr James Hay, the town 
relinquished its right of fishing on the south bank of the Tweed, 
'from the foot of Ninian's Haugh to Whitehaugh march, for 
twelve guineas,' a sum which forms one of the items in an account 
rendered to the doctor, September 13, 1794. From this account, 
it appears that he paid for fishings, portions of land, and 


feu-duties bought up at 25 years' purchase, the sum-total of 
48, I2s. 2d. B. R. As regards the feu-duties, reckoned at 
half a merk, or 6d. and 8-twelfths of a penny sterling per acre, Dr 
Hay may be allowed to have made a good bargain, for the same 
land is now feued by his descendant at 8 per acre. 

Of the times and manner of disposal of minor commons, such 
as Struther on Eddleston Water, now engrossed in the Venlaw 
estate, it is unnecessary to offer any account. It is enough to 
say that, shortly after the beginning of the present century, 
and before the passing of an act of parliament to restrain royal 
burghs from selling lands except by public auction, Peebles 
stood divested of nearly all those lands, which under more 
fortunate arrangements would have placed its corporation on 
a level, as regards wealth, with any resident proprietor in the 
county. It still retained three properties, to which, in its 
declining fortunes, it tenaciously clung certain soums, of Caid- 
muir ; the Common sometimes called ' Heathpool Common ' a 
relic of Glentress ; and the farm of Shielgreen. But these, too, 
from considerations of prudence, it was forced to relinquish. 
Injudiciously abstaining from a small assessment to sustain 
current expenditure, the town had, for a century, been sinking 
into debt, and nothing is more pitiable in the records, than the 
struggle to maintain the public credit, by borrowing small sums 
from any one who was willing to lend them. To discharge these 
accumulated obligations, the annual interest on which was 
exceedingly onerous, it became not a matter of choice but 
necessity, to sell all that could be advantageously disposed of. 

In 1851, the whole soums of Caidmuir were bought up by 
the Earl of Wemyss, and that nobleman entered into possession 
of the property; the town receiving for its share (seven and a 
half soums) the sum of 396, i is. yd. Heathpool Common, which 
had been used as a pendicle of Caidmuir, was acquired by Mr 
John Fotheringham. 1 And in the same year, Shielgreen was 

1 We have not been able to ascertain the entire price paid for Caidmuir and the 
pendicle with which it was identified ; but reckoning that it referred to 254 soums, it 
would, on the ratio paid to the town, amount to .13,430, i6s. $\d. 


disposed of to Mr John Erskine of Venlaw for 7500. By these 
several means, the town not only paid off its debts, but was able 
to carry out a variety of improvements. What these improve- 
ments were, it would be endless to particularise ; suffice it to 
say, that the town has expended, in rebuilding one school-house, 
and altering another, 541 ; contributed 105 towards the renewal 
of the bridge across Eddleston Water ; laid out ^454 on the 
Corn Exchange ; spent large sums on new drains and minor 
improvements on the streets, also in making new roads ; and has 
acquired the property of the Water Company, in order to place 
the supply of water on a public footing, and increase the quan- 
tity required by the community. It is also not to be forgot, that 
the town subscribed $oo for the widening of Tweed Bridge, and 
contributed 200 towards the improvements on the High Street. 
There is a pleasure in mentioning these, out of many other, 
evidences of the anxiety of the present administrators of the 
town affairs, to further the interests of the burgh, for they contrast 
in a remarkable manner with the strange system of management 
under the old regime. Inheriting, through maladministration, an 
exhausted exchequer, the council have latterly adopted every 
available means to make the most of the shreds of property 
left by their improvident predecessors. Sixteen acres of King's 
Muir, which were fortunately reserved in 1739, and ten acres 
of Frank's Croft, have, in the change of times, become valuable 
for feuing-grounds, and are now in the course of being occupied 
by villas, for which the feuars are to pay in perpetuity at a 
rate varying from $ to 8 per acre per annum ; so that, after 
all, out of the wreck of the old possessions of the town, some- 
thing advantageous is likely to be produced. Having outgrown 
its former quiescent condition, the town has had laid upon it 
new obligations corresponding to its new privileges. Not 
shrinking from these obligations, it has wisely embraced some of 
the provisions of the recent General Police and Improvement 
Act, and, so far, gives promise of keeping pace with the wants of 
modern society. The wonder is, that, during the last thirty years, 
it has done so much with so little in the form of ' common good.' 


According to the last statement of its affairs, the town had, for the 
year ending October 1863, a revenue of ^490, of which the sum of 
^109, iSs. was for rent of lands, and ^129 for feu-duties; the remainder 
being for customs, dividends, rents of houses, &c. The ordinary 
expenditure was ^482, to which was added ^259 for exceptional or 
extraordinary disbursements. At the same time, the funds in hand, 
consisting chiefly of the price of land received from the Caledonian 
Railway Company, amounted to ;i8oi, from which sum will have to be 
deducted the outlay in completing the purchase of the shares of the 
Water Company, and extension of the works, for which arrangements 
are at present being made. It is to be hoped that, by means of a small 
assessment under the new act, it will not be necessary to make any 
further sales of property, or to resort on particular occasions to the 
degrading expedient of general subscriptions throughout the county, for 
what only concerns the burgh and its inhabitants. 

It appears from the Valuation Act, 1854, that the valued annual rent 
of property within the burgh was ^5806, i6s. lod. ; the rental of the parish 
beyond the burgh being, at the same time, ^9 198, 13^. ^d. ; total, ^15,005, 
IO.T. zd,; on which a poor-rate is levied, which (including the small sum 
of 10, os. <)d, from other sources), for the year ending June 1862, 
amounted to ^890, igs. gd. 1 The rate, payable equally by proprietor 
and tenant, has been latterly diminishing, in consequence of the salutary 
operation of a poorhouse, which is erected on a commodious scale in the 
Lidgate. The establishment is maintained by a combination of all the 
parishes in the county (Innerleithen and Traquair excepted), and also 
the parish of Penicuick. 

According to the census tables of 1861, the population of the parish 
of Peebles was 2850, of which 2045 belonged to the burgh. In 1863, 
the number of voters, by ;io occupancy or proprietorship, for members 
of the town-council, was 114. The burgh is merged in the county, on 
the principle of the county franchise, in returning a member of parlia- 
ment ; and the number of voters residing in the town of Peebles, in 
1863, was 74, of whom only one appears to be registered as tenant. A 
number of non-resident owners are on the roll. 

Although situated at a height of 546 feet above the level of the sea, in 
upwards of 55 north latitude, the climate of Peebles is not inclement. 
In point of salubrity, the town is much indebted to its sheltering hills 

1 Mrs Lenoir, widow of the late Benoit Joseph Lenoir, hotel-keeper, at her death in 
1849, bequeathed the sum of .500, to be invested in the name of the parish minister, 
second magistrate, and schoolmaster of Peebles ; the proceeds to be divided equally 
every year, in September, among 'five decayed creditable burgesses' widows of the 
town of Peebles.' The money (deducting legacy-duty) is invested in British Linen 
Company's Bank stock ; and the interest is divided yearly in terms of the bequest 



and the nature of its subsoil. Built on very open gravel and sand, it has 
an exceedingly dry foundation. In none of the houses is anything like 
damp known ; all the rain that falls runs off immediately, or vanishes in 
the ground. There are no dead pools or marshes in its vicinity ; and 
the rivers on both sides remove from the town all liquid matter calcu- 
lated to prove offensive. Unfortunately, however, this species of 
drainage is tending to pollute the hitherto pure and wholesome streams 
about Peebles. Eddleston Water, in particular, is beginning to be 
offensive during droughts in summer, and may seriously deteriorate the 
salubrity of the town. A remedy for this evil cannot be too soon 

Not the least valuable of the attractions of Peebles are the numerous 
walks by river-side, hill, and bosky glen open to all to roam about at 
pleasure. Nor will strangers who go to reside in the town or its 
neighbourhood, and whose means and aims are moderate, have any 
reason to find fault with the manners of the settled inhabitants. There 
is much social intercourse in an inexpensive way. The intemperance of 
the 'good old times' is greatly assuaged; and one hears much less 
frequently of ' Peebles arms,' as three tumblers used to be facetiously 
called, than was the case fifty years ago. 


OCCUPYING the central part of the county, this parish 
extends about ten miles from north to south, and five 
miles from east to west, and contains a superficies of 
18,210 acres. A hilly part of the parish in the south is 
included in Selkirkshire. Beginning near Cringletie, the parish 
comprises the lower part of the valley of Eddleston Water, then 
a section of the vale of Tweed above and below Peebles, and 
lastly the stretch of level fertile land projected towards the 
mountainous tract on the south ; such lower portions of the 
parish being backed by elevated pasture-lands, which, partly 
dotted over with woods, impart shelter and amenity to Peebles. 

There is no other town, nor any village, in the parish. The 
lands, apart from those in and about the burgh, are possessed 
by twelve proprietors, of whom five are resident. Excepting 
what is covered by woods, or laid out as gardens and pleasure- 
grounds, all the land is occupied as farms, some purely pastoral, 
but, for the most part, of a mixed kind. Formerly, much of 
the land about Peebles was in the condition of crofts of two 
or three acres, belonging to burgesses who gave some attention 
to their culture for the sake of potatoes for their families, or 
fodder for their cows. There was something pleasing in the 
half-urban half-rural employment of these bonnet lairds, and 
perhaps the circumstance of possessing such patches tended to 


maintain a certain sense of independence. Such, however, is a 
fanciful view of the subject. The possession of these small 
properties ordinarily distracted attention from professional pur- 
suits, led to idle habits, and mischievously prevented removal to 
new and more eligible fields of industry. But whether for good 
or ill, it does not seem possible, in the nature of things, for 
families to keep inheritances of this nature. Deaths, and 
occasionally urgent necessities, lead to their disposal, and by an 
inevitable law, they become aggregated in the hands of the 
larger landowners in the neighbourhood. The crofts about 
Peebles have thus been greatly lessened in number, and, to all 
appearance, they will soon be altogether extinguished a circum- 
stance only in one sense to be regretted ; for as the value of 
land for building purposes is rapidly rising, the transfer is an 
unfortunate relinquishment of advantages which might have 
remained among the inhabitants. 

The most important estate in the parish is that of Neidpath, 
belonging to the Earl of Wemyss, who inherits it in virtue of his 
descent from the first Duke of Queensberry. The property con- 
sists chiefly of several farms lying to the west of Peebles, and 
clustering around Neidpath Castle, which occupies a striking 
situation on the north bank of the river, at the distance of a mile 
westward from the town. Backed by woody hills, with an open 
prospect towards the east, this grim old edifice, already pictured 
in our pages, forms a conspicuous feature in the landscape, 
reminding us of the graphic lines of Pennecuik : 

' The noble Neidpath, Peebles overlooks, 
With its fair bridge and Tweed's meandering crooks ; 
Upon a rock it proud and stately stands, 
And to the fields about gives forth commands.' 

The view on approaching it from the road, with the deep dell on 
the left, is particularly striking. A farm-gate admits to the 
grounds, which are now an open sheep-walk. Proceeding along a 
stretch of green-sward, formerly a grand avenue lined with trees, 
we have above, on the right, the chief garden of the castle ; and on 
the left, down the steep bank, are traces of the terrace-walks 


and flower-gardens which once adorned this princely scene. 
Advancing, we come to the old arched portal in the wall of the 
courtyard. Here strangers will pause to notice, on the keystone 
of the arch, the crest of the Lords Yester, Earls of Tweeddale 

a goat's head, erased, over a coronet ; 
and depending in the drop beneath, 
a bunch of strawberries, symbolical 
of the name Fraser. The strong 
iron hooks for the gate remain. Over 
the gate, there was once a small 
window or outlook for the keeper. 
Fig- 4o. Within the courtyard, all is desola- 

tion. The door of the castle being ajar, we enter the hall ; and 
here the extraordinary thickness of the walls, II feet, attracts 
attention. Mounting a broad stair to the floor above, visitors 
will be taken in charge by the wife of the keeper who now 
inhabits the castle. They will be shewn over the apartments 
on two floors, still habitable, and then conducted up a narrow 
stair to the summit of the castle. Here a superb view is 
presented from the front bartisan, eastward. The view behind 
is also picturesque, but more limited in its range. Before 
quitting the edifice, the dungeons, and the draw-well hewn out 
of the rock, will be shewn. 

Neidpath consists properly of two castles united. Originally, 
the structure had consisted of a tall border tower or peel, each 
story vaulted, and with a spiral stair communicating with the 
different floors. Subsequently, there was attached to the front 
of this meagre stronghold an imposing building of vast strength. 
It is this newer part which now constitutes the castle, as visited 
by strangers. The south side of the ancient tower is almost 
entirely gone, leaving a series of spectral vaulted floors, one 
above another, open to the winds of heaven. The fallen wall 
lies in large fragments at the bottom of the cliffs near the river. 

The history of Neidpath carries us back through a long line of noble 
families to that of the gallant Sir Simon Fraser, who, in 1303, along with 
Sir John Cummin, defeated the English three times in one day, on 


Roslin Moor. Sir Simon had a son, who, obtaining lands in the north, 
became ancestor of the Frasers, Lords Lovat, and other families. Sir 
Simon's large estates in the southern counties of Scotland were bequeathed 
to two daughters, one of whom, Mary Fraser, carrying with her Neidpath 
and adjacent estates in Peeblesshire, was married to Sir Gilbert Hay, 
who lived about 1320. One of his descendants, Sir William Hay, who 
lived about 1410, married Johanna Gifford, daughter and heiress of 
Hugh, Lord Gifford of Yester, and became Lord Yester. After this 
event, the family becomes known as the Hays of Yester. They seem, 
however, to have made Neidpath their principal residence, and for 
several centuries they were hereditary sheriffs of Peeblesshire. 

It was doubtless by one of the Hays of Yester probably Sir William, 
on obtaining the dignity of a baron, in the early part of the fifteenth 
century that the newer part of the castle of Neidpath was built. For 
the sake of security, the walls were made enormously thick and strong, 
and it would seem that light and air were admitted chiefly by small shot 
or peep-holes. The only door was that which is now in an obscure 
corner on the south, near the brink of the cliff. From this door, access 
to the upper floors was gained by the spiral stair pertaining to the old 
peel. As will be immediately seen, the builder committed a grave 
military blunder in allowing the old castle to remain ; for its walls were 
not half the thickness or strength of those which were added, and they 
therefore formed a vulnerable point in the edifice, as soon as artillery 
came into use. In the preceding historical sketch, allusion has been 
made to a visit of James VI. to Neidpath, during its occupancy by 
William, Lord Yester, commonly called Wood-sword. This took place, 
as stated, October 1587. 

John, eighth Lord Yester, was raised to the dignity of Earl of Tweed- 
dale, 1646, and died in 1654. In his latter days, when enfeebled by 
illness, the honour of the family was sustained by his son, John, Lord 
Yester, who had married Lady Jean Scott, daughter of Walter, first Earl 
of Buccleuch. Lord Yester had taken part in the military affairs of his 
day, and commanded a troop at the battle of Marston Moor, 1644. 
When Cromwell invaded Scotland in the summer of 1650, and soon 
after, by the victory at Dunbar, acquired possession of Edinburgh, Lord 
Yester, who was a Covenanting loyalist, fortified Neidpath Castle against 
him. As formerly stated, the defence made on the occasion was 
unsuccessful, in consequence of the attack being made on the weaker 
portion of the old tower from the south side of the river. Battered by 
shot in this quarter, it was forced to surrender, and till the present day 
it bears, in its shattered condition, evidence of the havoc which was 
committed on its walls. A representation is given of this southern or 
ruined side in the accompanying sketch (see the following page). 



In 1654, Lord Yester succeeded his father, and became second Earl 
of Tweeddale. At the Restoration, he came into the favour of Charles 
II., and for a number of years was the leading statesman of his day in 
Scotland. It is to this interval of prosperity that we are to refer the 
chief improvements on Neidpath. The earl is known to have spent 
large sums on his several properties, and more particularly on Neidpath. 
In the first place, a doorway was broken out in the centre of the building, 
through a depth of eleven feet of wall. A handsome staircase was 
similarly excavated out of the massive structure. Divers spacious 
windows were substituted for the narrow air-holes. The walls of the 

Fig. 41. Neidpath Castle ; southern aspect. 

apartments were wainscoted ; and probably there were likewise at this 
time some changes made on the bartisans. A large courtyard in front 
was environed with a wall and some buildings supplemental to the 
domestic accommodation of the castle. Stables were erected on the 
knoll to the north ; and last of all were formed those elegant terrace- 
gardens, long the admiration of Peeblesshire. 

In these undertakings, the Earl of Tweeddale may have been assisted 
by his son, John, Lord Yester, born 1645, to whom tradition has 
ascribed the authorship of the original verses to the tune of Tweedside; 
who, in 1666, married Lady Anne Maitland, only child and heiress of 
the Duke of Lauderdale. This was considered the greatest match in 
the kingdom ; yet it does not seem to have improved the fortunes of the 


Yester family. Subsequent to 1675, the Earl of Tweeddale became 
involved in political disputes and expensive litigations with Lauderdale ; 
so, says Father Hay, ' the Duke of Lauderdale may be justly said to 
have rob'd the familie of any benefit it had by his daughter's tocher.' ' 
According to the same authority, the earl had an unfortunate taste for 
buying lands beyond his means of payment. Debts accumulated upon 
him ' to so immense a soume, as att Whitsunday 1686, he was necessated 
to sell his whole state and interest in Tweeddale to the Duke of Queens- 
berry for about 280,000 pound ' [Scots] a sum equal to ,23,333, & s - %d- 
sterling. With this fact, we take leave of the Tweeddale family, which 
now closed its long connection with Peeblesshire. William Douglas, 
first Duke of Queensberry, the purchaser of the property, was Lord High 
Treasurer of Scotland in 1682. He left three children James, who 
became second duke in 1695, and is noted for having acted as Royal 
Commissioner in carrying the Act of Union, 1706 ; a second son, Lord 
William Douglas ; and Lady Anne Douglas, who was married to David, 
Lord Elcho, third Earl of Wemyss. Lady Anne Douglas did not long 
survive her marriage. Her clothes caught fire while she was engaged 
in devotional exercises ; and so severely was she scorched that she died, 
leaving two sons, from one of whom is descended the present Earl of 

In 1697, Lord William Douglas was created a peer, with the title of 
Baron Douglas of Neidpath, Lyne, and Mannerhead, Viscount Peebles, 
and Earl of March, with remainder to his is^ue male; failing which, 
eventually to Lady Anne Douglas (Countess of Wemyss), and her heirs 
male. He married Lady Jean Hay, daughter of the Earl of Tweeddale ; 
the contract of marriage is dated i2th October 1693. Neidpath and 
other properties in Peeblesshire, afterwards called the March estates, 
appear to have been about the same time gifted by the duke to his son. 

William, first Earl of March, followed the course of improvements on 
Neidpath begun by his father-in-law. According to Pennecuik, the 
banks were now planted ' with good store of ornamental trees of all 
sorts ; ' and it was chiefly during the occupancy of the first and second 
Earls of March the concluding part of the seventeenth and beginning 
of the eighteenth century that Neidpath was in its glory. We believe 
that to this period should be referred the alteration on the public road. 
In former times, the road westward from Peebles turned off abruptly to 
the right, up the hill towards Jedderfield, and descended to the low 
ground a mile or two further on. A great improvement was now 
effected, by cutting a level road along the face of the steep hill, passing 

1 Gettfalogie of the Hayes of Tweeddale, by Father Richard Augustin Hay ; printed 
from MSS. belonging to the Faculty of Advocates. Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1835. 



the head of the avenue to the castle. The point where the old road 
turned off, was that at which stood the original entrance-gate to the 
Neidpath grounds, and the spot is still popularly known as the White 

William, first Earl of March, realised the idea of a useful country 
gentleman resident on his patrimonial domain. Among his useful acts 
was that of building the bridge across Manor, 1703, with funds accruing 
from the vacant stipend of the parish of Manor. He died in Edinburgh, 
zd September 1705, and was buried in the family vault on the north side 
of the Cross Church of Peebles. 

His eldest son, William, who succeeded as second Earl of March, was 
born 1696, and married Lady Anne Hamilton, daughter of the Earl of 
Selkirk and Ruglen. In Peebles, until recent times, there were some 
pleasing traditionary remembrances of the second Earl of March. 
During his short career, he resided, like his father, chiefly at Neidpath 
Castle and Queensberry Lodging, and was much esteemed for his 
unaffected manners. From an anecdote which obtained a melancholy 
celebrity, he must have been on terms of familiarity with persons in the 
humbler ranks of life in Peebles. One day, in riding through the Old 
Town, on his way to Edinburgh, he was addressed by one of his gossips, 
an old woman who happened to be standing at her door. ' When are 
you coming back, my lord V ' Gane Friday, Eppey,' was the reply. On 
Friday, the earl was brought back a corpse. He died suddenly at 
Barnton, on the 7th of March 1731. 

The second Earl of March, thus cut off in the thirty-sixth year of his 
age, left one child, a son, William, who became third Earl of March, and 
subsequently, in right of his mother, Earl of Ruglen. This highly- 
favoured youth, who was destined to be a monopolist of property, rank, 
and title, was born in the family mansion in Peebles, on the i6th of 
December 1725. Till fifty years ago, his cradle was shewn as one of 
the curiosities of Neidpath Castle ; and there, according to tradition, he 
spent some of his earlier years, under the guardianship of his uncle, the 
Hon. John Douglas of Broughton. 

With the third Earl of March, began and terminated the ruination of 
Neidpath. Hitherto, the family of March had resided principally in the 
country ; migrating from Neidpath Castle in summer to Peebles in 
winter ; and from various memorials, it is evident that the first two earls 
were munificent in all matters of public utility. The third earl, on whom 
lay heavier responsibilities, altered all this. He spent his life almost 
entirely in England, where he was known as the beau, the courtier, the 
spendthrift, the patron of horse-racing, and every variety of folly, as whim 
directed. When advanced in life, the earl succeeded, 1778, his cousin, 
Charles, third Duke of Queensberry ; and thus, as fourth duke, united 



in his own person the proprietorship of the extensive estates of two 
branches of the Douglas family. How this dissolute nobleman affected 
to be the patron and political adviser of Peebles, has been sufficiently 
dwelt upon. 

His Grace was never married, and knowing that his large estates must 
devolve on heirs of entail, in whom he had no interest, and against 
whom, possibly, he entertained some kind of grudge, he committed 
much havoc with the property. On Neidpath, he inflicted a terrible 
blow. In 1795, he sold the fine old timber which had been the pride 
of the neighbourhood, leaving the banks a shelterless wilderness. 

Wordsworth's well-known ' Sonnet, Composed at Castle,' refers to 

this act of shameless spoliation : 

' Degenerate Douglas ! oh, the unworthy Lord ! 
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please, 
And love of havoc (for with such disease 
Fame taxes him), that he could send forth word 
To level with the dust a noble horde, 
A brotherhood of venerable trees ; 
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these, 
Beggared and outraged ! Many hearts deplore 
The fate of these old trees ; and oft with pain 
The traveller, at this day, will stop and gaze 
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed : 
For sheltered places, bosoms, rocks, and bays, 
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed, 
And the green silent pastures yet remain. ' 

Abandoned by the duke, the castle of Neidpath was let furnished to 
yearly tenants. The gardens were kept in order till about the period of 
his decease, when they were suffered 
to merge in the general sheep-walk. 
The plantations which now cover a 
part of the banks on both sides of 
the river, are of recent growth. Not- 
withstanding the extravagance of 
Old Q., as he was called, he left 
at his death personal property esti- 
mated at about a million, which was 
devised to various persons. On his 
decease, the Earldom of March, 
with his Peeblesshire estates, was 
inherited by the Earl of Wemyss ; 
while the Dukedom of Queensberry, p- 2 

with the noble estate of Drumlanrig, 
in Dumfriesshire, devolved on the Duke of Buccleuch, as being lineal 


descendant and heir of Lady Jean Douglas, daughter of James, second 
Duke of Queensberry, and wife of Francis, second Duke of Buccleuch. 
The title of Earl of Ruglen became extinct. By the Earl of Wemyss, 
Neidpath Castle is confided to the care of a gamekeeper. With 
recollections of its past history, the visitor of Neidpath will be affected 
with its present condition. The kitchen, with its once roaring chimney, 
is now a dog-kennel. The stables and other exterior offices are open 
ruins. The post of outlook over the gateway is overgrown with grass. 
Here, at a window which is now gone, sat, according to tradition, versified 
by Campbell, the dying maid of Neidpath, eagerly watching for the 
approach of her lover. 

' Earl March looked on his dying child, 

And smit with grief to view her 
" The youth," he cried, " whom I exiled, 
Shall be restored to woo her. " 

She 's at the window many an hour, 

His coming to discover ; 
And he looked up to Ellen's bower, 

And she looked on her lover. 

But ah ! so pale, he knew her not, 

Though her smile was on him dwelling. 
" And am I then forgot forgot !" 

It broke the heart of Ellen.' 

Yet, amidst the ruins and solitudes of Neidpath, there is a peculiar 
charm. Nowhere is silence so impressive as amidst the deserted 
remains of decayed magnificence. Around, lie the scattered memorials 
of ages long since forgotten, except in the page of history. The few 
surviving yew-trees, which remind us of a time of bows and arrows ; the 
' Lady's Well,' a rill trickling by the wayside ; the old terrace-gardens ; 
the high bartisans, where the Earls of Tweeddale and March, if they 
followed the fashion of their times, used to pace to and fro, in order ' to 
weary for dinner ; ' the moss-grown walls of the ancient peel, shattered 
by Cromwell's artillery all are suggestive of past times and manners, 
and forcibly remind us of the mutability of human affairs. 

The Neidpath estate, the largest in the county, extends into 
several parishes ; the church patronage of five of which is in the 
hands of the Earl of Wemyss, who occupies the position of 
Lord-lieutenant of Peeblesshire. Purchased in 1686, as has been 
seen, for 23,333, 6s. 8d. sterling, the estate offers a remarkable 
instance of the improved value of property, for now, including 
some recent acquisitions, the whole lands yield an annual rental 


of about ; 1 2,000. The estate is altogether divided into farms, 
some of them of the first class ; let to tenants, who, owing to the 
non-residence of the proprietor, constitute with their servants 
almost the only population over a considerable district. Within 
the parish of Peebles, the estate now comprehends, on the south 
bank of the Tweed, the South Parks of Neidpath, Caidmuir, and 
Edderston ; and on the north side, Lyne's Mill, Edston, Jedder- 
field, Standalane, part of Kirklands, and lands of Hay Lodge. 
The South Parks (ordinarily called the Park) consist of a part of 
the hill opposite the castle, which has been lately perforated 
by a tunnel for the branch of the Caledonian Railway from 
Symington. The remainder of the hill, southwards, includes 
Caidmuir, purchased from the soum-holders of Peebles in 1851, 
also Edderston, one of the old Queensberry properties. Across 
the hill, at a kind of neck called the Sware, is the road from 
Manor, once a general thoroughfare from the west country 
to Peebles, but when so used, it proceeded by way of the Park 
farm-steading ; the exit by the present loan on the east being 
of modern date. 

The grounds of Hay Lodge, finely situated on the north 
bank of the Tweed, between the town and the ancient enclo- 
sures of Neidpath, are a recent purchase, and so likewise are 
portions of the Kirklands, lying immediately to the north. 
Westwards, on the higher part of the hill, over Neidpath, 
is the farm of Jedderfield, now in an improved state, adjoin- 
ing Hamildean Hill and Standalane. Jedderfield, a name 
corrupted from Jedworth-field, appears to have been at 'one 
time a kind of appanage of. the hereditary sheriff of the 
county, and as such became a permanent possession of the 
Earls of March. 1 

As a frontage of Jedderfield, Hamildean Hill, and the farm of 

1 During a considerable part of last century, Jedderfield was occupied as a farm at 
an annual rent of ig, by David Grieve, who took a prominent part in the agricultural 
improvements of his time. He was born in 1713, was twice married, had altogether 
fourteen children, and died at Peebles in 1 787. Most of his sons attained to a respect- 
able position. The youngest was the late Mr Robert Grieve of Noblehall, best 
remembered as a merchant and magistrate of Edinburgh. 


Standalane, there are several distinct properties, including Firry 
Knowe, Rosetta, Chapel Hill, and part of Kidston. Rosetta is 
the name which was given to lands formerly known as Acrefield, 
when they were acquired, in the early part of the present century, 
by Dr Thomas Young, a retired military surgeon, who had 
accompanied the expedition to Egypt, under Sir Ralph Aber- 
cromby, in 1801. By him the house was built, and the grounds 
were laid out in their present pleasing style. Adjoining on the 
north is Chapel Hill, to which the access was formerly by an 

Fig. 43. Chapel Hill. 

avenue of trees, now nearly all gone. On the knoll occupied by 
the farm-steading, once stood a chapel of unknown antiquity, 
which was removed to make room for the mansion of the 
proprietor. In 1627, Robert Pringle of Chapel Hill appeared 
at the Weapon-show at Peebles. From the Pringles, the 
property passed to the Williamsons, and it now belongs to 
J. P. Elliot, of London, who lets the whole as a farm. There 
is a tradition that when Chapel Hill was occupied in 1745, by 
Mr Williamson (whose house, a plain edifice of two stories, is now 
the dwelling of the farmer), he was waited upon by an officer 
and party of the rebel army, to demand the cess of the county 
in name of King James. Both for situation and a certain old 
manorial dash about Chapel Hill, of which we give a sketch, 


one can fancy that it will some day resume the condition from 
which it has unhappily declined. 

Kidston, as a part of the Cringletie estate, may be best 
noticed in connection with that property (see EDDLESTON), and 
we may cross to the east side of the valley of Eddleston Water, 
where there is a succession of properties, all of some historical 
note Winkston, Mailingsland, Hutcheonfield, and Smithfield, 
backed on the higher grounds by Foulage, Heathpool, and 
Pilmuir, once comprehended in the common of Glentress. 
Winkston has frequently changed owners since it was the 
property of the Anglo-Norman settler, Wink, or Vink, from 
whom it derived its name. In 1489, it was the property of the 
Dikesons, to .which family belonged Provost Dikeson, who was 
assassinated in 1572. These Dikesons, or Dyckisons (now 
modernised into Dickson), seem to have been an old and pretty 
numerous family in the district, for they turn up on all occasions 
in the burgh and other records. In the Weapon-show, 1627, 
appeared ' Robert Porteous for Winkston,' having seemingly 
been sent by the proprietor, whom we judge to have been named 
Little ; for ' Adam Little ' is inscribed as proprietor in the 
valuation roll of 1657. In 1767, it was possessed by Stevenson 
of Smithfield, who, like his predecessors, seems to have done 
little towards its improvement ; for when offered by public 
advertisement to be let in 1792, the lands are described as 
' mostly in a state of nature,' but susceptible, by means of 
drainage, of being rendered arable. In a valuation roll, 1802, 
Winkston appears as the property of John Anstruther of Airdet, 
from whom it passed to his grandson, the late Major John 
Anstruther Macgowan, 93d Highlanders, who lucklessly perished 
from wounds received when heading a party at Sebastopol. By 
his heirs, Winkston was publicly sold, in 1857, to Robert 
Thorburn, an eminent artist in London, for the sum of ^"7800. 
For about a century, the old mansion of Winkston has 
been incorporated with the farm-steading, which occupies a 
prominent situation near the public road (valued rental in 1863, 
347, idr.). 


Hutcheonfield, once distinguishable by a peel-house on a 
shoulder of the hill, of which now only the lower vault remains, 
has along with Foulage and Mailingsland, and other lands 
in this quarter, been for two centuries the property of the 
Williamsons, now of Cardrona (see TRAQUAIR). Mailingsland, 
which is situated over Winkston, is called in old writs Meluins- 
land, or Melvinsland, 1 a name perhaps to be traced to one or 
other of the Malleuills noticed in the Ragman Roll. The 
residence on the property is now a modern farm-steading. On a 
lower part of the hill, on a line with Winkston, consisting of a 
strip of several fields, is the property formerly known as 
Langside, but now named from its proprietors, Swinton Bank. 
It received its present improved condition from the late 
Alexander Murray Bartram, writer in Peebles, and passing 
through the hands of several proprietors, was purchased, in 
1836, by the late Mr Swinton for about ;8ooo. The house, 
situated on the bank, a short way above the public road, 
commands a pleasant view across Eddleston Water to Chapel 
Hill and Rosetta. The present proprietor, John-Edulphus 
Swinton, an officer in the Indian army, is the representative of 
the ancient and distinguished family of Swinton of Swinton, in 
the county of Berwick, the gallantry of one of whom (1420) is 
commemorated in the Lay of the Last Minstrel 

' And Swinton placed the lance in rest, 
That humbled erst the sparkling crest 
Of Clarence's Plantagenet. ' 

The lands of Hutcheonfield and Swinton Bank form the 
northern boundary of Smithfield, a property of great interest, 
now known as Venlaw. No one can have visited Peebles without 
being struck with the commanding position of the modern 
Venlaw House, on the face of the hill which overlooks the Old 
Town and the ruins of its ancient ecclesiastical structures a 
view which some may think is not improved by the bustle 
and traffic of the Peebles Railway immediately beneath. On the 
spot occupied by the house, stood the old castle of Smithfield, 

1 Cardrona Papers. 



and as some token of this antiquity, there still exists a series 
of terraces visible in the green-sward on the face of the 
sloping bank. 

How Smithfield received its name, is unknown. Its oldest 
recorded proprietors were the Dikesones, connections of the 
Dikesones of Winkston. The last of this surname in Smithfield 
was John Dickson, who lived in the early part of the sixteenth 
century, and whose daughter and heiress carried it by marriage 
into the family of Hay. As will shortly be explained, the Hays 

Fig. 44. Veulaw House. 

of the Smithfield branch died out in great poverty in 1683, from 
about which time the property went through several hands. 
With much other property about Peebles, Smithfield was acquired 
by the March family, from whom it passed by sale, in 1729, 
to David Plenderleath of Blyth. Plenderleath was not long in 
possession ; in 1739, he sold the lands to Alexander Stevenson, 
late tenant of Dreva, then residing in Peebles. Stevenson's son, 
Alexander, bred to the bar, became sheriff of Peeblesshire, and 
succeeded as heir in 1767. It was while in the possession of 


Sheriff Stevenson, or shortly afterwards, that Smithfield lost its 
old appellation, and from the adjoining hill, became known as 
Venlaw. The old house likewise disappeared. About 1782, 
Stevenson built in its place the present mansion, of which we 
present a sketch, taken from the front (see preceding page). 
Mr Stevenson's two sisters inherited the property in 1789, and 
by them it was sold, in 1790, to Ludovic Grant, writer in Edin- 
burgh. 1 It will be recollected how Grant, in purchasing the 
soums of Venlaw, assailed the town-council for an infeftment, 
and how, with more than their accustomed spirit at the period, 
the council gave him no more than the qualified charter to 
which he was alone entitled. Ludovic conveyed the lands to 
William Grant in 1793, and by him they were sold, in 1798, 
to Major Archibald Erskine, from whom they were inherited 
by his son, the late John Erskine, whose heirs are now in 
possession. 2 

Throughout these changes, the estate was augmented by 
sundry purchases ; the greatest of all the extensions of Smith- 
field, however, was that effected by the late Mr Erskine, when 
he bought Shielgreen from the town of Peebles for ^7500. In 
the valuation roll of 1863, the rental of the Smithfield estate is 
entered at jS9 l > los. By an arrangement with Sir Adam Hay, 
Mr Erskine resigned a portion of the Venlaw Hill which had 
been acquired by Grant from the soum-holders of Peebles, 
whereupon it was planted and laid out for villas in the manner 
it now appears. 

Adjoining Venlaw, or only separated from it by a few fields, 
lies Kcrfield, which, for convenience, we will take next in order. 
Lying under the shelter of the wooded height called Janet's Brae, 
and fronting the river at the point where it receives Soonhope 
Burn, Kerfield is one of the prettiest and best situated small 

1 Venlaw Papers. 

2 The history of family burying-places would be curious if it could be told. The 
Erskines of Venlaw use a burial enclosure at the Cross Church, called ' Morton's 
Aisle.' As the Laird of Smithfield, about 1624, acquired lands in the parish, which, 
in 1567, had belonged to James Douglas, Earl of Morton, it seems probable that, 
through that means, the aisle in question came by usage into the present family. 



properties about Peebles. It is what is usually described as ' a 
made place ;' for it is an aggregation of a number of detached 
pieces of land, bought at different times ; the whole, at con- 
siderable expense, subsequently improved and beautified. The 
merit of this transformation is, in the first place, due to a family 
named Kerr, resident for many years in Peebles. The first 
purchase was that of Bordlehaugh, a strip of land lying on the 
side of Tweed, which was bought from the Earl of March 
by William Kerr in 1730. Kerr is designated 'merchant in 

Fig. 45. Kerfield House. 

Peebles ;' from which we understand that he was a shopkeeper 
in the town, and subsequent transactions shew that he was 
successful in business, and economical in his habits. In 1747, 
at which time he was Dean of Guild, he acquired other two 
acres of land at Soonhope, along with a rood called Browne's 
Rood. His son, William Kerr, improved upon these beginnings, 
by purchasing, between 1766 and 1780, the piece of land called 
Sandbed, and six roods of land eastward of Peebles, with two 
acres of burgage property, and parts of what was termed Little 


Ormiston. 1 In effecting these purchases to round off his property 
on Soonhope, Mr Kerr may have entertained the scheme which 
he afterwards executed, of transferring to the spot a brewery 
and distillery, which he carried on in premises in Peebles. 
There, hampered in various ways, he at length removed to his 
small territorial possession outside the town, which he designated 
Kerfield ; and here extending his brewery, was, as we have seen, 
vexed with litigations about multures to the burgh mill, in 

But William Kerr was a man not easily daunted. He outlived 
this sort of persecution, and brought Kerfield Brewery into high 
repute. In the early years of the present century, the concern 
had attained to a prosperous condition ; the manufacture being 
possibly benefited by the copious supply of fine water from 
Soonhope Burn. Afterwards, when the business came into the 
hands of Mr Aitchison, it was wholly removed to Edinburgh. 
The brewing premises were then mostly taken down ; and the 
place altered into what we now see it a gentleman's seat and 

At the death of Mr Kerr, the property was acquired by his 
eldest son, John Kerr, writer to the Signet, from whom it passed 
to his sisters in 1839. By them the lands of Kerfield and 
Whitestone Knowe were disposed of the same year to Robert 
Gillespie, of Hundleshope, a merchant in London. From Mr 
Gillespie, the property was, in 1845, acquired by William 
Mitchell Kerr, a West India merchant, by whom, in 1849, ^ 
was sold to Anthony Nichol, its present proprietor and occu- 
pant, for (as is said) about 7000. The valued annual rental of 
Kerfield is ^104. Mr Nichol is also proprietor of Glenbreck 
and Riggs, in Tweedsmuir parish. 

Returning to Venlaw : Here, begins the estate of Haystoun, 
which is projected eastwards to the border of the parish, and 
includes Soonhope and Eshiels ; after which, crossing the Tweed, 
it extends westwards, so as to embrace King's Meadows, White- 
haugh, Haystoun, Newbie, Glensax, Bonnington, Crookston, part 

1 Kerfield Papers. 


of Caidmuir, some lands about King's Muir, and Bridgelands 
at the southern extremity of Tweed Bridge, also Hundleshope, 
in the parish of Manor. The whole lying like a crescent to 
the east and south of Peebles, and disposed as pastoral or 
arable farms, with large portions covered with wood, takes rank 
as one of the principal estates in the county. 

The family of the Hays, its present possessors, is of considerable 
antiquity, but has passed through some remarkable vicissitudes. 
It traces its descent from John Hay, third Lord Yester; and 
as the Lords Yester were descended from Simon Fraser of 
Neidpath, by the marriage of their ancestor, Sir Gilbert Hay, 
with one of his daughters, the Hays of Haystoun are the living 
representatives within the county of the great Scottish patriot. 
John Hay, the third baron, was twice married an exceedingly 
common thing in Peeblesshire. His second wife was daughter 
and heiress of John Dickson of Smithfield. While the Yester 
family was carried on by the children of the first marriage, the 
family of Smithfield was continued by the second, of which 
the eldest son was John Hay, who succeeded to his mother's 
property in 1525, and added to it the lands of Swynhope or 
Soonhope in 1549. He had three sons, James, Thomas, and 
John. James, dying without issue, was succeeded by Thomas, 
who died previous to 1570, leaving two sons John, who 
succeeded him, and Thomas, whose issue, if he had any, became 
extinct. John, now Laird of Smithfield, added to his possessions 
by purchasing Eshiels, which had belonged to James Douglas, 
Earl of Morton, in 1567, also the wild valley behind it called 
Glentress such having, probably, been at one time a portion of 
the common of that name. This acquisition was about 1624, at 
which time the Chapel Yards of St Leonards seems also to have 
come into the family. John was succeeded by his only surviving 
son, James, who, by patent dated July 20, 1635, was created a 
baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I. After this event, amidst 
civil dissensions, and possibly through some degree of improvi- 
dence, the family lost the whole of its property ; and Sir James, 
the third baronet, died in very reduced circumstances in 1683. 


Smithfield had now passed from the Hays, to whom it never 
returned, and the original stock was alone represented by the 
descendants of John, the third son of Lord Yester, and the 
heiress of Smithfield, to whom we revert. 

John Hay appears to have purchased some crofts of the Cross 
Kirk and also King's Meadows, in 1570. Dying in 1602, he 
was succeeded by his son Andrew, a writer to the Signet in 
Edinburgh. Father Hay records the jocular tradition, that the 
Hays of Tweeddale have always been remarkable for making 
their fortune by marriage. 1 But with as much justice, it might 
be said that they have been indebted to professional industry, 
and a right application of means. Andrew Hay, the successful 
man of business, helped greatly to give territorial distinction to 
the family. In 1635, he purchased the lands of Henderstoun, 
which he designated Haystoun ; in the same year, he acquired 
the adjoining property of Glensax from Govan of Cardrona ; and 
Newbie appears to have been bought about the same time. 
These various lands, with King's Meadows, constituted the 
nucleus of the present estate. Andrew died in 1655, and 
was succeeded by his eldest son, John Hay of Haystoun, 
advocate and principal clerk of Session, by whom and his 
son and successor John, the family property was extended. 
Yet, reckoned according to our money value, how small was 

1 ' It is to be observed that the whole fortune of this familie came by marriages, and 
whatever hath been purchas'd, was by the selling of land that had come in that 
way ; in consideration whereof, Charles Hay, present Lord Yester [third Marquis of 
Tweeddale, 1713], made the following verses : 

" Aulam alii jactent, felix Domus Yestria, nube, 
Nam quze sors aliis, dat Venus alma tibi." ' 

[ Translation : Let others boast of court influence ; thou, happy House of Yester, hast 
only to marry ; for the good things that Fortune bestows on others, benign Venus 
gives to thee.] Genealogie of the Hayes of Tweeddale, p. 39. 

Father Hay does not seem to have been aware that Lord Yester's verses are but an 
adaptation of the following well-known epigram on the fortunes of the House of 
Austria, ascribed to Matthias Corvinus (who died 1490) : 

' Bella gerant alii ; tu, felix Austria, nube ; 
Nam quae Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus. ' 

Translation : Let others wage war ; thou, happy Austria, hast only to marry ; for 
the kingdoms that Mars bestows on others, Venus gives to thec. 



still the rent-roll of the Hays ! In the county valuation of 

1657, the 'free rent of the Laird of Haystoun' is put down 

at ,486, 5^. lod. Scots something under 37 sterling. It was 

not, therefore, by means of rental, but by professional gains 

that the Hays expanded from the condition of small lairds 

to that of considerable land-proprietors. It was, seemingly, 

either the advocate or his son who built the family mansion at 

Haystoun, which, situated amidst some fine old trees on a knoll 

overhanging Haystoun Burn, and forming, with offices, three 

sides of a square, presents a good example of a superior Scottish 

country-seat two hundred years ago. Over the chief entrance 

is a stone tablet bearing the arms of the family, with the date 

1660, and some initials, as shewn in the adjoining cut (fig. 46). 

The house is distant about a mile 

and a half south from Peebles. 

About the period at which it 

was erected, the Haystoun family 

acquired by purchase possibly by 

paying off wadsets or mortgages 

some of the possessions of the 

unfortunate Smithfield branch, 

among which were Eshiels and 

Chapel Yards, also several lesser 

properties near Peebles. Another 

important acquisition was White- 

haugh, which, by a disposition from the Traquair family, 

became the property of John Hay in 1679.' 

John, the son of the advocate, was succeeded by his son 
John, who married Janet, daughter of Sir Alexander Murray of 
Blackbarony, and had a family of four sons and seven daughters. 
Of these daughters, Jean, Anne, Grizel, and Helen were married ; 
Helen was the grandmother of the present Mrs Horsbrugh of 
Horsbrugh. Of the sons, John and James, the two elder, need 
only be referred to. John died before his father, without issue, 
and the succession devolved on James, who was a physician 

1 Haystoun Papers, on which our statements are generally founded. 


in Edinburgh. By the death of his father, he entered on 
possession of the Haystoun estate in 1762. His wife, a daughter 
of Campbell of Greenyards, died in 1770, and ever afterwards 
he remained a widower. 

Peeblesshire has produced few better managers of property 
than Dr Hay. Active, intelligent, and far-sighted, he made good 
purchases, and throwing himself into the movement for enclosing 
and improving lands, did much to extend and consolidate the 
interests of his family. In a list of his properties, 1775, we see 
Waddinshope or Walthamshope, the subject of dispute between 
Robert Cruik and the burgesses of Peebles in 1262. Waddins- 
hope, Glensax, and Newbie, all lie to the south of Haystoun, 
whence they stretch away among the hills, constituting wild 
pastoral solitudes. Two of the hills, hereabouts, particularly 
prominent in the view southwards from Peebles, culminate 
in peaks, known as Newbie Kips. Another feature in the 
landscape is an ancient drove-road, winding like a green ribbon 
among the woods, and leading southwards to Yarrow and the 
English border. The whole scenery of Haystoun Burn, from 
where it leaves the glen at Newbie till it falls into the Tweed, is 
charmingly rural and picturesque. One of the prettiest spots is 
near the old farmhouse of Newbie, which stands on the west 
side of the Glen (now partly occupied by an artificial lake), and 
offers a fair specimen of the second stage of improvement reached 
by houses of its class. In front of it, on a cleared space, stood 
the original farmhouse, a thatched cottage of two apartments, 
which, with some surrounding natural features, has invited the 
notice of a native versifier : 

' In Newby Dell, the sweet blue-bell, 
And wild-thyme, scent revealing, 
Now mark the spot, a humble cot, 
Thy grandsire's mined shieling. ' 1 

Newbie, now included in the farm of Bonnington, affords 

1 An allusion is here made to William Gibson, who, as tenant-farmer, quitted 
Newbie (with a small fortune) about 1780. While occupied as a store-farm by Mr 
Gibson, a number of sheep were stolen from Newbie by a person named Murdcrson, 


an instance of the timidity of the old farmers in this part 
of the country. In 1790, on the occasion of a proposed 
rise of rent, it was advertised as consisting of 3200 Scots 
acres, which had hitherto been possessed at below is. 6d. 
per acre. The war-prices which ensued shortly afterwards, 
left no room for regret to those who ventured on exceeding 
this rental. 

Dr Hay is entitled to be called the maker of Whitehaugh and 
King's Meadows in their present aspect of well-fenced, planted, 
and, in other respects, improved lands ; for, previous to his time, 
they were little else than an open moor. Throughout his rural 
operations, he continued to reside in New Street, Canongate, 
where his house was kept, and family superintended, by Miss 
Peggy, one of his three unmarried sisters. Here, pursuing his 
professional labours, the doctor only now and then visited the 
country to attend to improvements on his estate, or to negotiate 
some bargain about patches of land with the town-council 
of Peebles, for which his command of ready money gave him 
peculiar advantages. It is likely enough, that at these times 
he occasionally took up his residence at Hay Lodge, which had 
been built about 1772, by his second son, Captain (afterwards 
Lieutenant-colonel) Adam Hay, or at King's Meadows, where 
his elder son, John Hay, a banker in Edinburgh, erected a 
dwelling in 1795, at the modest cost of 600. We can conceive, 
however, that the doctor's principal country quarters continued 
to be the old family mansion at Haystoun, which was occupied 
with some degree of style by his remaining maiden sisters, Miss 
Betty and Miss Ailie, paragons of neatness and great spinners of 
flax, each being provided with her own small wheel for the 
purpose on which important subject of manufacture 'the 

tenant in Wormiston (now Glenormiston), who, along with Millar his shepherd, and a 
dog called Yarrow, carried on a most extraordinary system of depredation Yarrow, as 
a humble agent, being most adroit in stealthily cutting off and bringing home such 
parcels of sheep, under night, as were indicated by a few words from his master. For 
this crime, Murderson and Millar were tried and convicted at Edinburgh, January 
1773, and afterwards executed. The performances of Yarrow are quoted by writers 
in Natural History, as among the more remarkable instances of intelligence in dogs. 



leddies of Haystoun ' used occasionally to visit, and hold grave 
consultations with Mrs Gibson, the farmer's wife, in that old 
thatched ' but-and-ben ' edifice at Newbie. Besides his two 
sons, John and Adam, the doctor had a number of daughters, 
the eldest of whom, Elizabeth, was married to Sir William 
Forbes of Pitsligo, baronet. 

It can scarcely be doubted that, throughout his course of 
improvements and extensions of property, Dr Hay entertained 
a wish to revive the Smithfield baronetcy, which had been in 
abeyance since 1683. He began moving in the matter about 
1804; and as the establishment of claims of this kind was then not 
so strict or formal as it is in our own day, he appears to have had 
little difficulty in satisfying a jury called together for the purpose 
at Peebles, November 9, 1805, that as a lineal descendant of 
John Hay of King's Meadows, third son of Lord Yester, and 
brother of the first baronet's grandfather, he was entitled to be 
the fourth baronet. Getting this matter satisfactorily settled, 
Sir James, as he was now called, did not long survive his new 
honour. He died in 1810, leaving a large family, and was 
succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John, who having been born 
in 1755, was past middle age when he entered into possession of 
the property. His second son, Adam, predeceased him, having 
died abroad, without issue, in 1795. 

Many will remember Sir John Hay, as being a fine specimen 
of the well-bred country gentleman, blended with the man of 
business. In 1774, he had been apprenticed in the banking-house 
of his brother-in-law, Sir William Forbes, at Edinburgh ; in 
which concern, he was assumed as a partner in 1782. Diligent 
in this pursuit, he made frequent visits to Peeblesshire, more 
particularly in his later years. In 1785, he married the Honour- 
able Mary Elizabeth, youngest daughter of James, sixteenth 
Lord Forbes, by whom he had eight sons and seven daughters. 
The family resided at King's Meadows, in the .600 house, but 
that at length getting too small and out of date, Sir John built 
an addition in front in 1811 ; the old mansion at Haystoun being 
meanwhile vacated by the venerable spinster aunts, who migrated 


to a flat in Chapel Street, 1 Edinburgh, where they peacefully 
concluded their days, enjoying till the last the pleasure of seeing 
the Fly jog deliberately along Nicolson Street, three times a 
week, to and from Peebles. After this desertion, Haystoun 
subsides into a residence of the factor on the estate. 

Affected with the extravagant notions on planting which 
prevailed in the early part of the present century, Sir John made 
that a favourite pursuit, covering large hill-tracts with wood, 
which, until lately, could find no market in a district unprovided 
with a cheap means of transit. He added greatly to the beauty 
and amenity of his farms. Eshiels, in particular, was laid out 
with exquisite taste, and may be pronounced the finest picture of 
a farm with farm-steading in the county. Within this farm is 
now comprehended the property of Chapel Yards, on which was 
situated the Hospital of St Leonards, alluded to in a previous 
part of the present work. This ancient ecclesiastical structure 
stood near the east side of the most easterly field, south from the 
public road, and within a short distance of Horsburgh Castle. 
The spot which it occupied is marked by a solitary tree, and on 
the roadside, at what had been the entrance to the grounds, still 
grows an ash, perhaps the largest in Peeblesshire, and seemingly 
not less than five hundred years old. 

In an estate of this kind, it is not easy to trace the manner in 
which particular parts were added, because names are changed, 
and one farm may comprehend what was formerly several distinct 
properties. Such is the case with Soonhope, which, formerly 
belonging to the Smithfield family, was recovered in detach- 
ments by Dr Hay. Originally Swynhope, this property forms a 

1 Now called West Nicolson Street, in which their house was No. 2, first door in 
the stair, with windows looking into Nicolson Street. This is mentioned from personal 
recollections. The family to which the present writer belonged, on going to Edin- 
burgh in 1813, occupied a floor on the same level with the Misses Hay, but reached 
by a separate stair. The kitchen fireplaces of both dwellings being back to back, with 
a thin and imperfect wall between, the servant-girls of the two families, both exiles 
from Tweedside, were able to carry on comforting conversations, by removing a brick 
at pleasure in the chimney ; through which irregular channel much varied intelligence 
from Peebles was interchanged between the two families. The latest survivor of the 
Misses Hay died at the advanced age of ninety-nine. 


fine pastoral valley, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile 
east from Peebles. On its eastern side, the heights are remarkable 
for several British forts, already alluded to ; and at its inner or 
northern extremity, where tower the conspicuous elevations 
called Shielgreen Kips, there are still visible, on a lofty knoll, the 
foundations of a medieval castle, reputed to have been a hunting- 
seat of one of the early Scottish kings. From the high grounds 
in this quarter, Peebles is now supplied with water. 

Another property of the same composite nature is Bonnington, 
which is made up of three different Bonningtons Bonnington 
Wylie, Bonnington Wood-grevington, and Bonnington Bullo. 
The last-mentioned evidently took its name from the family of 
Bullo or Bullock, who possessed it in 1527, and one of whom, 
' Thomas Bullo in Bonnington,' appeared at the Weapon-show in 
1627. He is, however, spoken of in the retours, 1637, as son 
of Patrick Bullo, portioner, and we infer that the family was 
declining in position. In 1678, John Hay of Haystoun bought 
part of the lands. Dr James Hay, in the course of his acquisi- 
tions, bought another portion in 1767; and his son, Sir John, 
purchased the remainder in 1824, when the whole three 
Bonningtons were coalesced. 

Bonnington, in its united form, and as incorporated with 
Newbie, is now provided with one of the more improved class of 
steadings. Adjoining the spot where the buildings have been 
placed, the land stretching along the hollow of the valley was in 
the condition of a morass interspersed with large pools, which 
are noticed as one of the features of the district in an old local 

rhyme : 

' Bonnington lakes, 
And Crookston cakes, 
And Caidmuir on the Wrae, 
And hungry, hungry Hundleshope, 
And scaw'd Bell's Brae. ' 

Shortly after Sir John came into possession of the estate, he 
(1812) executed, at a cost of 500, a long and deep cutting for 
an open run of water, by which the ground was so effectually 
drained, that the lakes disappeared and the morass was dried up. 


In the present day, intersected with hedgerows dotted with 
trees, the land in the direction of Crookston and Hundleshopc 
exhibits a very pleasing appearance. Sir John effected sundry 
other improvements, and, more from the urgency of individuals 
than his own inclinations, purchased a number of small proper- 
ties in and about Peebles. One of these acquisitions was a field 
of five and a half acres, lying on the Waulk-mill dam, adjoining 
the Cross Church, called Bell's Dam Crofts, in a valuation-roll, 
1709. Passing through various hands, and with the name 
changed to Dam-Dale, this finely situated field was possessed in 
1802, and some few years later, by 'James Kerr, writer in 
Peebles,' remembered for his improvident eccentricities, through 
which the Dam-Dale claimed, in due course, a new owner, from 
whom it was purchased by Sir John Hay in 1826, for the sum of 
700. It now forms a valuable feuing-ground, and is already 
well-nigh covered with houses. 

Sir John Hay died in 1830, and was succeeded by his eldest 
son, Sir John, the sixth baronet, elected member of parliament 
for Peeblesshire, 1832, and whose portrait, as Provincial Grand 
Master, hangs in the Mason Lodge, Peebles. He was married, 
but died without issue in 1838. He was succeeded by his 
brother, Adam, born 1795, and who, like his father, was bred as a 
banker in the house of Sir William Forbes and Company (a firm 
now merged in the Union Bank of Scotland). Animated with 
the same desire as. his predecessors to improve the family inhe- 
ritance, Sir Adam has, with some trouble and at considerable 
expense, been able to make some important acquisitions in order 
to extend and give compactness to the estate. In 1852, he gave 
Cardon, an outlying property, to Sir John Naesmyth in exchange 
for Crookston. Disposing of some other properties in a distant 
part of the county, he, in 1853, bought Hundleshope from Mr 
Gillespie for 15,000. Having likewise acquired a portion of 
Caidmuir from the Earl of Wemyss, the Haystoun estate was, 
so to speak, brought within a ring-fence, and placed under the 
eye of the proprietor. Such, in brief, is a history of the Hays 
and their possessions. Beginning with an insignificant property 


in the sixteenth century, the family has, generation after 
generation, by a proper use of means and opportunities, gone 
on improving its inheritance, until the estate has attained to 
dimensions productive of a valued rental of 4137 per annum. 

Residing at King's Meadows with his numerous family, Sir 
Adam, in process of time, felt the necessity for an enlargement 

Fig. 47. King's Meadows. 

of the family mansion, which he effected by an addition at the 
back of the former edifices, in 1855. King's Meadows, therefore, 
consists now of an incongruous cluster of buildings, amidst 
which, the old 600 house, with its white rough-cast gable to 
the river, seems to be most uncomfortably squeezed. An idea 
of the mansion will be obtained from the above cut, fig. 47 ; 
the view being taken from the north bank of the Tweed, which 
flows, 'glitt'ring in the sunny beams,' under the windows of the 
house. The front commands a view of Peebles, half a mile 
distant on the west. 


EDDLESTON parish, adjoining that of Peebles in a 
northerly direction, extends about nine and a half miles 
from north to south, and about five and a half miles from 
east to west at its southern or broadest part. 1 The parish 
consists, nearly altogether, of the upper section of the strath 
of the small river, usually called Eddleston Water, which joins 
the Tweed at Peebles. At the south-eastern corner of the 
parish, towers aloft the conspicuous hill of Dundreich, which 
rises to a height of 2000 2 feet above the level of the sea. 

The northern division of the parish embraces the high ground, 
Ringside Edge, on the boundary of Midlothian, across which 
the turnpike-road is carried at a height of 931 feet above sea- 
level, 8 from which to Peebles there is a descent of 381 feet. The 
railway from Edinburgh crosses the hill at the same elevation. 
Road, railway, and river pursue a parallel route down the valley, 
which at one spot near Early Pier, is so narrow, that excavation 
from the side of the bank was necessary to admit of the line 
of railway. In former times, this was an important defensible 

In the lower parts of the parish, disposed as arable fields, 
the land is now greatly improved. Cultivation has latterly 
also crept up the adjacent hills, for which much has been done 

1 Superficies, 18,590. 223 acres. Ord. Stir. * Ibid 3 Ibid. 


by enclosing, draining, and those sheltering woods and planta- 
tions that have sprung up through the good taste of several 
proprietors. As an outpost of Tweeddale, the hilly parts of the 
parish have offered favourable spots for British forts, defiant of 
invaders from the borders of the Firth of Forth. Of these 
ancient strengths, particularly Northshields and Milkiston 
Rings, some account has already been given. 

The most ancient name of this section of the vale of Eddleston 
was Penteiacob, under which appellation, at the beginning of the 
twelfth century, the lands belonged to the bishops of Glasgow. 
Somewhat later, the district becomes known as Gillemoreston, 
but this it did not long retain ; for, previous to 1189, the lands 
were granted to Eadulf, an Anglo-Saxon settler, from whom 
came the present designation Eadulf's ton, or corruptedly, 
Eddleston. Where the ton or toun l of Eadulf was placed, is 
uncertain. Probably, it occupied a spot now covered by a 
cluster of thatched dwellings near the parish church, which of 
old was a prebendal dependency of the cathedral of Glasgow. 
This fragmentary part of the ancient village is situated about 
the centre of the parish, on a rising ground on the east side of 
the valley. The present church is a new structure, dating from 
1829. It is environed by a burying-ground, the best laid-out 
and neatest kept in the whole county. Beneath, on the banks 
of the small river, is situated the new village of Eddleston, 
built on a regular plan, about 1785. 

For nearly a century, the population of the parish has 
undergone little variation; in 1861, it was 753. According to 
the valuation roll, 1657, the annual rental of the parish was 
327, 75. qd. sterling. In 1863, it was 8336, igs. 4^.; this 
amount being exigible chiefly as rents of the farms into which 
the lands are now divided. , Exclusive of those whose properties 
are valued at less than ;ioo per annum, there are only six 
proprietors ; and of these, three own by far the larger portion 

1 In Peeblesshire, as in some other parts of Scotland, a cluster of buildings, as, for 
example, a farm-steading, is popularly called a toun, a signification borne out by the 
original Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word. 


of the parish. The most noted estate is that of Darn Hall, the 
property of the Murrays, Lords Elibank. The name Darn Hall 
is modern ; or at least is employed for the first time in 1536. 
It has superseded the more historical designation, Blackbarony, 
which, however, was not the earliest by which the property 
is styled in the family writs. The oldest recorded name is 
Haltoun or Haldoun, now entirely unknown, or only distin- 
guishable in the corrupted form of Hatton-knowe, which is 
applied to one of the farms. Occasionally, the property was 
called Halton-Murray, to distinguish it probably from another 
Halton in possession of the Lauders, whose property, as far 
as we can judge, lay further down the valley. The Murrays, 
descended from the Moreffs or Moravias, who figure in the 
Ragman Roll, come into notice as proprietors in this quarter in 
the fourteenth century. At the beginning of the fifteenth, that 
is in 1412, a writ refers to ' George de Moravia Dominus de 
Halton;' and another writ, under date 1518, mentions 'the 
barony of Haltoun, alias the Blackbarony,' by which the two 
designations are identified as applying to the same property. 1 

This ancient domain of Haltoun or Blackbarony was very 
extensive ; for it appears to have, at one time, embraced nearly 
the whole of the lands, north and south, in the upper section of 
the strath of Eddleston Water. For the sake of distinction, 
the estate was ordinarily divided into two parts. Blackbarony 
was that portion lying on the north or right bank of the 
Eddleston, while Whitebarony was that on the left ; but these 
were only terms of convenience ; the whole was but one property, 
possessed by the Murrays, whose residence was at Darn Hall, 
on the Blackbarony side of the valley. 

John Murray of Blackbarony, the eighth laird in the family 
roll, is reputed to have been a man of great bravery and forti- 
tude, qualities which he evinced by following James IV. to the 
fatal field of Flodden, and there perishing with him. He was 
succeeded by his only son, Andrew, who added to the family 
possessions by acquiring part of Ballencrief, in Haddingtonshire, a 

1 Elibank Papers. 


portion of which lands had been previously acquired by his father. 
From Andrew several lines of Murrays are descended. He had 
four sons and four daughters, but not to confuse our narrative, 
we shall specify only the first and third son, John his heir, and 
Gideon, the progenitor of the Murrays of Elibank. John, who 
succeeded on the death of his father, received the honour of 
knighthood from James VI. in 1592. Sir John Murray acquired 
some local celebrity for enclosing the hitherto open lands on his 
estate with stone walls, the first of the kind in Peeblesshire, and 
from which operations he became popularly known as the Dyker. 
We have no doubt that the Dyker was a man in advance of his 
time, who saw the importance of fencing, planting, and otherwise 
improving his extensive property. Archibald, his son, who 
succeeded as heir, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, with 
continuation to his heirs-male, by Charles I., May 15, 1628. Sir 
Archibald, the first baronet, was succeeded by his eldest son, 
Sir Alexander Murray, who was appointed high-sheriff of 
Peeblesshire by Oliver Cromwell. 

From about this period, a living interest is attached to the 
Murrays of Blackbarony. They are frequently mixed up with 
public events, take a lead in the county, and keep house 
with considerable degree of state at Darn Hall. This edifice, 
originally a border tower, situated in a dcrn or concealed place, 
and hence its name, had already been amplified by additions 
adapted to the growing distinction of the family. One of the 
lairds, possibly the Dyker, had planted a double row of limes, 
extending down the slope to the outer access to the grounds, 
forming a straight and broad avenue to the mansion. 

Except Traquair, there was nothing grander in its way in 
Peeblesshire than Darn Hall, and it seems to have quite fitted 
the taste for magnificence of Sir Alexander Murray, the second 
baronet. It is related of this stately personage that, on the 
occasion of giving entertainments at Darn Hall, he equipped his 
servants and tenants in liveries, which he kept for the purpose, 
and placed them on each side of the grand avenue, all the way 
to the door of his residence ; and that when they had so 


done their duty, they, by a back-way, reached the house, and 
performed over again in the vestibule and staircase. It is 
further alleged, that having seen the king of Portugal walk with 
a shuffling gait in consequence of weakness in his ankles, Sir 
Alexander always afterwards, as a mark of courtly manners, 
affected the same awkward species of locomotion. But the thing 
on which he chiefly prided himself was something superior to 
either his suite of attendants or his mode of walking. One day, 
a gentleman speaking to him of old families, he replied : ' Sir, 
there are plenty of old families in this country, in France, 
Germany, and, indeed, all over the world ; but there are only 
three Houses the Bourbons of France, the Hapsburgs of 
Austria, and the Murrays of Blackbarony !' 

With all this love of show and fancied greatness, Sir Alexander 
had the address so to economise expenditure as to rear a large 
family of children, and settle them all respectably. He was 
twice married. By his first wife, he had two sons and two 
daughters. Archibald, the eldest son, was his heir, and Richard, 
the second son, acquired Spitalhaugh. Of his second marriage, 
there was one son, John (to whom he assigned the lands after- 
wards known as Cringletie), and five daughters. Two of these 
young ladies were married to gentlemen in the county. Janet 
became the wife of John Hay of Haystoun, of whose son, Dr James 
Hay, and other members of his numerous family, something has 
already been said. The other was married to Murray of Murray's 
Hall, now Halmyre. The story of the courtship of Janet or 
Jean, as she is styled in the legend may not perhaps be entirely 
vouched for ; but is too illustrative of old manners, and of the 
finesse which was sometimes employed by mothers of young 
ladies of quality in securing an eligible suitor, to be omitted. 

One day so goes this popular tradition as Sir Alexander Murray 
was strolling down the avenue, he saw the Laird of Haystoun, mounted 
on his white pony, approaching, as if with the intention of visiting 
Darn Hall. After the usual greetings, Murray asked Haystoun if that 
was his intention. ' Deed, it 's just that,' quoth Haystoun, * and I '11 tell 
you my errand. I am gaun to court your daughter Jean.' The Laird 


of Blackbarony (who, for a reason that will afterwards appear, was not 
willing that his neighbour should pay his visit at that particular time) 
gave the thing the go-by, by saying that his daughter was ower young for 
the laird. ' E'en 's you like,' quoth Haystoun, who was somewhat dorty, 
and who thereupon took an unceremonious leave of Blackbarony, 
hinting that his visit would perhaps be more acceptable somewhere else. 
Blackbarony went home, and immediately told his- wife what had passed. 
Her ladyship, on a moment's reflection, seeing the advantage that was 
likely to be lost in the establishment of her daughter, and to whom the 
disparity of years was no objection, immediately exclaimed : ' Are you 
daft, laird? Gang awa' immediately, and call Haystoun back again.' 
On this, the laird observed (and this turned out the cogent reason for 
his having declined Haystoun's visit) ' Ye ken, my dear, Jean's shoon 's 
at the mending.' (For the misses of those days had but one pair, and 
these good substantial ones, which would make a strange figure in a 
drawing-room of the present day.) ' Ye ken Jean's shoon 's at the 
mending.' ' Hoot awa, sic nonsense,' says her ladyship ; ' I '11 gie her 
mine.' ' And what will ye do yoursel 1 ' ' Do 1 ' says the lady : ' I '11 
put on your boots ; I Ve lang petticoats, and they will never be noticed. 
Rin and cry back the laird.' Blackbarony was at once convinced by 
the reasoning and ingenuity of his wife ; and as Haystoun's pony was 
none of the fleetest, Blackbarony had little difficulty in overtaking him, 
and persuading him to return again. The laird having really conceived 
an affection for his neighbour's daughter, the visit was paid. Jean was 
introduced in her mother's shoes ; the boots were never noticed ; and 
the wedding took place in due time, and was celebrated with all the 
mirth and jollity usually displayed on such occasions. The union turned 
out happily, and from it, as has been said, sprung the present family 
of Haystoun. 

Sir Alexander was succeeded by his son, Sir Archibald, the 
third baronet, who comes frequently into notice in the reign of 
Charles II., as lieutenant-colonel of the militia regiment of 
Linlithgow and Peeblesshire, employed during that period of 
civil commotion. Surviving the Revolution, he left a son, 
Alexander, his heir, and four other sons, likewise two daughters. 
There now ensues a revolution in the family. Three of the 
younger sons died unmarried ; their next elder brother, Captain 
Archibald Murray, was married, and had a daughter, Margaret. 
Sir Alexander, the laird, was married, but had no children, and 
resigned Blackbarony to Margaret his niece, who married John 


Stewart of Ascog. The baronetcy devolved on the heirs of 
Richard Murray of Spitalhaugh, a property long since out of the 
family (see NEWLANDS). With the descendants of Richard, the 
baronetcy still remains, though those who enjoy it have no 
territorial connection with the county. 

Leaving Blackbarony in possession of the Stewarts, we revert 
to Gideon Murray, whose ennobled descendants were destined to 
recover the old family seat of Darn Hall. Gideon, the third son 
of Sir John Murray, the Dyker, was reared for the church, and 
was appointed to the office of ' chanter of Aberdeen.' Happening 
to kill a man not an unusual occurrence in the early part of 
the reign of James VI. he was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, 
but was afterwards pardoned, and for some recommendable 
qualities received a charter of the lands of Elibank, county of 
Selkirk, March 15, 1594-95. Subsequently, he. had grants of 
other lands, and in him centred the lands of Ballencrief. In 
1605, he received the honour of knighthood ; was constituted 
treasurer-depute in 1611 ; and in 1613, was appointed one of 
the Lords of the Court of Session. 

From these and other circumstances, Sir Gideon, or, as he was 
familiarly called by the country-people, Sir Judane, Murray, was 
evidently a man of high trust in the reign of James VI., and was 
able to keep house, first at the Provostry of Creighton, and 
afterwards at Elibank, in a manner outshining his relatives 
at Darn Hall. As he was noted for his reparations on the 
royal palaces and castles, there can be little doubt that he 
either wholly built the castle of Elibank, or extended it from the 
condition of an old border tower. Now a shattered ruin, occu- 
pying a commanding situation on the south bank of the Tweed, 
Elibank still shews signs of having been a residence of a very 
imposing character, defensible according to the usages of the 
period at which it was inhabited. Here, then, when not engaged 
in state affairs, Sir Gideon lived with his family. He had married 
Margaret Pentland, and had three sons, Patrick, William, and 
Walter, and one daughter, Agnes. How the circumstance of 
having only one daughter is to be reconciled with the story 


related by Sir Walter Scott, in his Border Antiquities, after- 
wards versified by James Hogg, and now universally credited, 
we are at a loss to say. We may at least repeat this amusing 
legend in Scott's own words : 

' The Scotts and Murrays were ancient enemies ; and as the possessions 
of the former adjoined to those of the latter, or lay contiguous to them 
on many points, they were at no loss for opportunities of exercising their 
enmity "according to the custom of the Marches." In the seventeenth 
century, the greater part of the property lying upon the river Ettrick 
belonged to Scott of Harden, who made his principal residence at 
Oakwood Tower, a border-house of strength still remaining upon that 
river. William Scott (afterwards Sir William), son of the head of this 
family, undertook an expedition against the Murrays of Elibank, whose 
property lay at a few miles distant. He found his enemy upon their 
guard, was defeated, and made prisoner in the act of driving off the 
cattle, which he had collected for that purpose. Our hero, Sir Gideon 
Murray, conducted his prisoner to the castle, where his lady received 
him with congratulations upon his victory, and inquiries concerning the 
fate to which he destined his prisoner. " The gallows," answered Sir 
Gideon for he is said already to have acquired the honour of knight- 
hood " to the gallows with the marauder." " Hout na, Sir Gideon," 
answered the considerate matron in her vernacular idiom ; " would you 
hang the winsome young Laird of Harden, when ye have three ill-favoured 
daughters to marry?" "Right," answered the baron, who catched at 
the idea ; " he shall either marry our daughter, mickle-mouthed Meg, or 
strap for it." Upon this alternative being proposed to the prisoner, he, 
upon the first view of the case, stoutly preferred the gibbet to " mickle- 
mouthed Meg," for such was the nickname of the young lady, whose real 
name was Agnes. But at length, when he was literally led forth to 
execution, and saw no other chance of escape, he retracted his ungallant 
resolution, and preferred the typical noose of matrimony to the literal cord 
of hemp. Such is the tradition established in both families, and often 
jocularly referred to upon the borders. It may be necessary to add, that 
mickle-mouthed Meg and her husband were a happy and loving pair, 
and had a very large family.' 

Sir Gideon's only daughter was certainly married to young 
Scott of Harden, but it is as true that the marriage did 
not take place hurriedly, but was the subject of a deliberate 
contract, to which there were four assenting parties Sir Gideon 
Murray and Walter Scott of Harden, as the two fathers, and 


William Scott, younger of Harden, and Agnes Murray, the two 
to be united. This contract, existing among the Elibank Papers, 
is a very curious document. It consists of a series of sheets of 
paper pasted together, forming a strip about ten inches broad 
and eight feet long, well covered on one side with writing, and 
defines, among other matters, the tocher to be given with Agnes, 
which was seven thousand merks Scots (388, \js. o//. sterling). 
The deed purports to be executed at the ' Provost's place of 
Crighton,' July 14, 1611. The young lady subscribes with a 
bold hand, ' Agnes Morray.' Walter Scott of Harden, the father- 
in-law, was so illiterate as to be unable to sign his name, and 
adhibits his consent as follows : ' Walter Scott of Harden, with 
my hand at the pen, led be the notaries underwritten, because I 
can nocht write.' William Scott, his son, subscribes without 
assistance. From another old writ, it is seen that ' Dame 
Margaret Pentland,' wife of Sir Gideon, and mother of Agnes 
and of the first Lord Elibank, had no more knowledge of letters 
than Walter Scott of Harden, for she subscribes by a notary 
because she ' can nocht write.' 

Placed in the position of treasurer-depute, Sir Gideon Murray 
is said to have acquitted himself as an able financier, on the 
occasion of the visit of James VI. to Scotland in 1617, for which 
and other services he secured the confidence of the king, who, 
as a mark of favour, bestowed on him the gilt cups and other 
' propynes ' which had been gifted to his majesty by the cities of 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Carlisle. 

So highly did the king esteem Sir Gideon, that when on one 
occasion he happened to let his glove fall, his majesty stooped 
and gave it to him again, saying : ' My predecessor, Queen 
Elizabeth, thought she did a favour to any man who was 
speaking to her when she let her glove fall, that he might take it 
up, and give to her again ; but, sir, you may say a king lifted up 
your glove.' If there be any truth in this story, Sir Gideon had 
reason to feel that the friendship of James was far from secure. 
Capricious, and influenced by parasites, the king believed a 
malicious accusation against Sir Gideon, and had him seized and 


sent a prisoner to Scotland to be tried an indignity which so 
preyed upon him that he abstained from food for several days, 
and sinking into a state of stupor, died on the 28th of June 1621. 
Sir Gideon was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Patrick 
Murray, who was created a baronet in 1628, and advanced to 
the peerage as Lord Elibank, 1643. He was succeeded by 
Patrick the second, and Patrick the third Lord Elibank. The 
son and successor of the last mentioned was Alexander, the 
fourth baron, who left five sons Patrick, who succeeded as 
fifth Lord Elibank, George, Gideon, Alexander, and James. We 
pause a moment to refer to the youngest, the Hon. James Murray, 
a general in the army, who was governor of Canada in 1763, and 
in 1781 stood a siege in Fort St Philip, Minorca, when that 
island was invaded by the French under the Due de Crillon. 
An incident occurred on this occasion, worthy of being noticed 
in the family history. Failing to secure the fort by force of 
arms, the Due de Crillon sent a secret message to General 
Murray, offering to pay him ; 100,000 sterling for the surrender 
of the place. 1 Indignant at this attempt to corrupt his integrity, 
he sent the following spirited reply, dated October 16, 1781 : 

' When your brave ancestor was desired by his sovereign to assassinate 
the Due de Guise, he returned the answer which you should have done, 
when you were charged to assassinate the character of a man whose 
birth is as illustrious as your own or that of the Due de Guise. I can 
have no further communication with you but in arms. If you have any 
humanity, pray send clothing for your unfortunate prisoners in my 
possession ; leave it at a distance, to be taken up by them, because I 
will admit of no contact for the future, but such as is hostile to the most 
inveterate degree.' To this the duke replied : ' Your letter restores 
each of us to our places ; it confirms me in the high opinion I have 
always had of you. I accept your last proposal with pleasure.' The 
general, as is well known, bravely held out until famine and disease 
obliged him to capitulate, Feb. 5, 1782. 'I yield to God and not to 
man,' was the memorable saying of General Murray, on rendering up 
the emaciated defenders of the garrison, whose appearance drew tears 
from the French officers and soldiers. 

Patrick, fifth Lord Elibank, was an accomplished man of 

1 History of England. 



letters, and commemorated as the friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, 
whom he entertained at Ballencrief, on his visiting Edinburgh. 
He died in 1778, and was succeeded by George, his brother, an 
eminent naval officer, who, at his decease in 1785, was succeeded 
by his nephew, Alexander, son of Gideon Murray, D.D., 
prebendary of Durham. Alexander, the seventh Lord Elibank, 
bred an officer in the army, will be remembered as commander 
of the local militia of Peeblesshire. There having been no issue 

Fig. 48. Dam Hall. 

of the marriage of Stewart of Ascog and Margaret Murray, the 
Blackbarony estate, so far as not disposed of, went in virtue of a 
deed of entail to Alexander, seventh Lord Elibank, in whom 
the several properties belonging to the family in Selkirkshire, 
Haddingtonshire, and Peeblesshire, were united ; whereupon the 
Elibank branch of the Murrays was reinstated in Darn Hall. 
This peer died in 1820, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 
Alexander, as eighth baron. On the decease of that nobleman 
in 1830, the title and property devolved on his eldest son, 

Alexander-Oliphant, the present peer. 



The Murrays of Elibank, whose history we have very faintly 
sketched, long since vacated the old castle of their ancestor, 
Sir Gideon, and leaving it to sink to decay, have returned 
permanently to the original residence of Darn Hall. By the 
tastefulness of its present proprietor, the house has been greatly 
extended and improved. As shewn in the preceding cut, fig. 48, 
it is a massive square mansion, ornamented by corner turrets 
in the old French-chateau style. It contains some good family 
pictures, including one of Patrick, fifth Lord Elibank. Around 
the house, the grounds are very beautiful ; while that old spacious 
avenue of limes, though now disused as an approach, remains 
a striking object in the scene, reminding us of John the Dyker, 
and his grandson, Sir Alexander the Magnificent. 

Since possessed by these worthies, the estate of Blackbarony 
has undergone various mutations, and is now considerably less 
than it was. Milkiston, which had been disposed of, has been 
re-attached by the present Lord Elibank at a cost of about 
; 1 2,000. Latterly, increased by this means, and much improved 
in various ways, the entire property within the parish, in 1863, 
had a valued rental of 1783, 2s. 

Halton-Murray, or Blackbarony, might almost be called the 
parent estate in the parish, for from it most other properties 
have been excavated. It began to be disposed of in the early 
part of the eighteenth century. To judge from the valuation 
rolls, the estate was entire in 1709, but in 1740 it had dwindled 
to less than a fourth, and we then see a generally new order of 

The chief purchaser of the dismembered Blackbarony estate 
was the Earl of Portmore, a personage no way connected with 
the district, and of whom and his titled successors all recollection 
is lost. We may give a passing word to this now forgotten 
family. Sprung from the Robertsons of Strowan, and becoming 
a soldier of fortune, the first of the family comes into notice as 
fighting in the Dutch service at the end of the seventeenth 
century, at which time he had adopted the surname of Colyear. 
Sir David Colyear came to England with William III., and for 


his services was raised to the peerage as Lord Portmore. After- 
wards, 1703, he was created Earl of Portmore. By him or his 
son and successor, a large section of the Blackbarony estate was 
acquired, including that part on the south near the modern 
Portmore House ; the family also acquired the barony of Aber- 
lady. In 1835, family and earldom were extinct, but long before 
that event, the several estates just referred to were, through the 
pressure of necessity, disposed of. 

Among all the good bargains of land it is our pleasant lot to 
record, none, we think, can be compared with that about to be 
mentioned. In 1798, the Portmore possessions in Haddington- 
shire and Peeblesshire were purchased for 22,000, by Alexander 
Mackenzie, 1 who, in 1799, sold the Haddingtonshire portion, 
comprehending the barony and village of Aberlady, to the Earl 
of Wemyss, for .24,000.* Where, alas ! whether at public auction 
or by private arrangement, is such a marvellous bargain now to 
be secured ? The portion in Peeblesshire, formerly a part of 
Halton-Murray, consisted of East and West Lochs, Kingside, 
Courhope, Cloich, Shiplaw, and Over Falla, in the parish of 
Eddleston, and East and West Deans' Houses, in the parish of 
Newlands. Courhope and Cloich, and also East and West 
Deans' Houses, have been latterly disposed of for considerable 

Alexander Mackenzie, the fortunate purchaser of the Portmore 
estate in 1798, was a writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, and 
descendant of Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Garioch. Getting 
the Peeblesshire property, as it may be said, for nothing, 
neither he nor his immediate successor made much of it, in 
consequence of the lands being let on exceedingly long leases 
at a very insignificant rent At the decease of Mr Mackenzie, 
the lands were inherited by his son, Colin Mackenzie, deputy- 
keeper of the Signet, who had a large family by his wife, 
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Forbes, Bart., of Pitsligo. 
The eldest son, William Forbes Mackenzie, who succeeded in 

1 Public Records, General Register House. ' Portmore Papers. 



1830, was for some time member of parliament for the county, 
and enjoyed a certain notoriety by having his name associated 
with the well-known Public-house Act for Scotland. When 
retired from public life, Mr Mackenzie died suddenly in 1862, 
and was succeeded by his only chifd, the present Colin James 
Mackenzie of Portmore. 

By Colin Mackenzie, the son of the purchaser, the estate was 
improved by planting and other costly operations. He also 

Fig. 49. Portmore House. 

enlarged it by acquiring Whitebarony and other lands in the 
neighbourhood ; but the higher district remained, for the greater 
part, in a dreary backward condition a circumstance ascribed to 
the perniciously long leases at rents which offered no stimulus to 
improvement. 1 That the leases on this property, protracted till 
about 1834, should have been attended with consequences so 
different from what ensued in regard to the Neidpath estate, is a 
fact not unworthy of notice. Although limited in dimensions by 
the sales above referred to, the estate of Portmore had, in 1863, 

1 Statistical Account, by Rev. Patrick Robertson, 1834. 


a valued rental of 3720, qs. For many years, the family of the 
proprietor resided in a small house at Harcus, but recently this 
was abandoned for a new and commodious mansion, in a 
handsome style of architecture, situated on an elevated ground, 
and commanding an extensive view southwards down the valley. 
Adorned by well-grown woods, the grounds around Portmore 
possess some degree of interest by including the ancient British 
fort, known as Northshield Rings. They are further attractive 
by bordering on a pretty sheet of water, two miles in circum- 
ference, now known as Portmore Loch. In Blaew's map, the 
outlet of this mountain tarn is marked as towards Eddleston 
Water. It has no exit in this direction. From its northern 
extremity flows a burn as a feeder of the South Esk, which, 
uniting with the North Esk at Dalkeith, falls into the sea at 
Musselburgh. In the description of the lake by Blaew, it is said 
to abound in fish, principally eels, which, rushing out with 
impetuosity in the month of August, are caught in such great 
numbers by the country people, as to be a source of much 
profit. In the present day, perch, pike, and eels are stated to be 
found in the loch, but not in that overwhelming abundance 
narrated by the Dutch chronicler. Dundreich, with its huge 
rounded form, rises on the south ; and immediately adjoining, in 
a south-easterly direction, is the hill called Powbeat, on which, 
it is alleged, there is a spring so deep and mysterious, as to give 
rise to the notion that the hill is full of water. The common 
people in the neighbourhood amuse themselves with a specula- 
tion as to the mischief which would be occasioned were the sides 
of the hill to burst. Observing the direction of the valley of the 
South Esk, they conclude that the deluge would flow towards 
Dalkeith, carrying off, in the first place, three farms, and finally 
sweeping away several kirks in its destructive course. These 
whimsical conjectures are thrown into a popular rhyme, as follows : 

' Powbate, an' ye break, 
Tak' the Moorfoot in your gate, 
Huntly-cot, a' three, 
Moorfoot and Mauldslie, 
Five kirks and an abbacie.' 


The five kirks are those belonging to the parishes of Temple, 
Carrington, Borthwick, Cockpen, and Dalkeith ; and the abbey 
(which shews the antiquity of the rhyme) is that formerly 
existing at Newbattle. 

The estate of Cringletie, increased by recent acquisitions, lies 
generally to the south of Blackbarony, the distance from Darn 
Hall to Cringletie House being about two miles. The Murrays, 
the present proprietors, are, as above described, descended from 
Sir Alexander Murray of Blackbarony (time of Charles I. and 
Commonwealth), by a second marriage with Margaret, daughter 
of Sir David Murray of Stanhope. John, the son of this pair, 
received from his' father, in 1667, the lands of Upper and Nether 
Kidston, purchased by him only a year before, and which lands, 
along with Easter and Wester Wormiston, were erected into a 
barony called Cringletie, in 1671. Kidston, in its various parts, 
at one time belonged to Lord Fleming, and afterwards to the 
Earl of Douglas, who conveyed the lands to a family named 
Lauder. These Lauders appear to have had considerable pos- 
sessions about Eddleston Water. In the returns, under date 
1603, mention is made of ' Alexander Lauder of Haltoun,' heir 
of Alexander Lauder, who was killed at the battle of Pinkie ; and 
in 1655, there was a ' John Lauder of Hethpool.' It is interesting 
to note how this family, which cut a figure in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, culminated, waned, and disappeared. As 
early as 1512, there are writs embracing the Green Meldoun, 
which, from its description, is assumed to be Hamilton or 
Hamildean Hill. By a charter of resignation and novodamus, 
1610, this hill, the subject of future contests with the town of 
Peebles, was associated with Kidston and Wormiston, in virtue 
of which it was adjudged to be part and parcel of the Cringletie 
estate, and as such it remains till the present day. 

As the Lauders vanish from the stage, the Murrays come into 
view. John Murray, the first of Cringletie, was succeeded by his 
brother Alexander, who had two sons Alexander, his heir, and 
Archibald, who was bred an advocate, and to whose descend- 
ants we shall afterwards refer. Alexander, who succeeded 


to Cringletie, officiated for some time as sheriff-depute of 
Peeblesshire under the Earl of March, and represented the 
county in three several parliaments. Alexander, his eldest son, 
succeeded him, and acquired distinction as an officer in the army, 
in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He held a 
command at the siege of Louisburg, capital of Cape Breton, and 
afterwards served with distinction under General Wolfe, at the 
battle of Quebec, 1759. He commanded the grenadiers at the 
landing of the army, on which occasion he received four shots 
through his clothes without being hurt ; and in the battle which 
ensued he distinguished himself with great gallantry. 1 At this 
time, Colonel Murray was married, and his wife, a daughter of 
Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Bart., accompanied him in his 
Canadian campaign. He had two sons, Alexander and James 
Wolfe, and a daughter. The second son, born in January 1759, 
was named after General Wolfe, who acted as his godfather, and 
expressed a wish that the name of Wolfe might remain in the 
family. Colonel Murray died at the reduction of the island 
of Martinique, 1762, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

James Wolfe Murray, who was educated for the Scottish bar, 
at which he passed as advocate in 1782, became afterwards 
sheriff of Peeblesshire. Towards the end of the century, he 
bought the family estate for 8000, from his brother, Alex- 
ander, who died without issue in 1822.* It is mentioned, that in 
making this purchase, Mr Murray was assisted by his uncle, an 
aged bachelor, Colonel James Murray, who will be remembered 
by old people about Peebles, for he lived for a number of years 
in Quebec Hall at the East Port, and died there in 1807. Of 
James Wolfe Murray, and his polite and agreeable manner, many 
still alive will vividly retain a recollection ; perhaps many more 
will remember his beautiful and remarkably clever wife. This 

1 West wished Colonel Murray to figure in his picture representing the death of 
Wolfe ; ' but the honest Scot refused, saying, " No, no ! I was not by ; I was leading 
the left." 'Wright's Life of Wolfe. 

8 Cringletie Papers. 


lady, Isabella Strange, was a granddaughter of Sir Robert 
Strange, celebrated as an engraver toward the end of last 
century. Strange's history is associated with some stirring 
events. He was born in Shetland in 1721 (his father having 
been connected with the Stranges or Strongs of Balcaskie, in 
Fife), and was, from his taste for art, sent to be apprenticed as 
an engraver in Edinburgh. There he formed an attachment to 
the charming Isabella Lumsden, sister of Andrew Lumsden, 
writer, who, from his Jacobite proclivities, became private secre- 
tary to Prince Charles Edward on his appearance in 1745. 
Miss Lumsden, a still more enthusiastic adherent of the Stuarts 
than her brother, would only promise to marry Robert Strange, 
on his engaging heartily in the rebellion, which he forthwith did 
the duty more especially assigned to him being that of 
engraving bank-notes for the use of the rebel army. On the 
dispersal of the insurgents at Culloden, Strange, like others, fled 
for his life. It is related by his biographer, that on one occasion, 
being ' hotly pressed, he dashed into a room where the lady, 
whose zeal had enlisted him in the fatal cause, sat singing at her 
needle-work, and failing other means of concealment, was 
indebted for safety to her prompt intervention. As she quickly 
raised her hooped gown, the affianced lover disappeared under 
her ample contour, where, thanks to her cool demeanour and 
unfaltering notes, he lay undetected while the rude and baffled 
soldiery vainly ransacked the house.' 

Escaping to France, Strange was compensated for his misad- 
ventures, by marrying Miss, Lumsden in 1747. For many 
years he carried on business as an engraver in Paris, where his 
finest works were produced. He and his family at length came 
to England, where there was no longer any danger on account 
of the affair of 1745. Coming into favour as an artist with 
George III., he received the honour of knighthood in 1787. He 
died, 1792. Sir Robert Strange had a large family. His eldest 
son was James Strange, whose first wife was Margaret Durham 
of Largo, by whom he had a daughter, Isabella. This child, 
sent to live for some time with her grandfather, at his house in 


Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, is described as having 
inherited the sparkling wit, vivacity, and worth of her grand- 
mother, Lady Strange, to whom she was much attached. Such 
was Isabella Strange, who, in 1807, became the beautiful wife of 
James Wolfe Murray of Cringletie. Held in esteem, Mr Murray 
was raised to the bench of the Court of Session, in 1816, 
when he adopted the judicial title of Lord Cringletie. His 
lordship died in 1836, leaving a family of four sons and eight 
daughters all noted, in a singular degree, for their unaffected 
manners and sprightliness of disposition. 1 Mrs Murray, his 
widow, died at Paris in 1847. Lord Cringletie was succeeded by 
his eldest son, James Wolfe Murray, the present proprietor. 

We now return to Archibald Murray, advocate, brother of 
Alexander, the laird, second in descent from Blackbarony. He 
acquired the estate of Nisbet, two miles west from Edinburgh, 
which he called Murrayfield, and this designation it still retains. 
By his wife, a daughter of Lord William Hay, younger son of 
John, Marquis of Tweeddale, he had a son Alexander,, who, also, 
was reared to the profession of the law, and succeeded his father 
as sheriff-depute of Peeblesshire in 1761. Rising at the bar, he 
was appointed a judge in the Court of Session in 1782, when 
he adopted the title of Lord Henderland, from the estate 
of the same name in Megget, which had already become a 
possession of the family. The wife of Lord Henderland was a 
daughter of Sir Alexander Lindsay of Evelick, baronet, and 
niece of the first Earl of Mansfield. By this lady he had two 
sons William, who inherited his property of Henderland, and 
John Archibald. This second son, who lived to inherit his 
brother's patrimony, will long be remembered for his genial 
qualities, and the part he played in politics in Edinburgh in the 
early part of the present century. 

Bred to the law, like his father and grandfather, John Archi- 
bald Murray was appointed Lord Advocate in 1834, and after 
being some time member of parliament for the Leith district of 

1 His eldest daughter was married to James Dennistoun of Dennistoun, author of 
Memoirs of Sir Robert Strange, 2 vols. 1855. 


burghs, was raised to the bench in 1 839, when he took the title of 
Lord Murray. He was at the same time knighted. From this 
time till his death, in 1859, Lord Murray was one of the nota- 
bilities of Edinburgh. William Murray, who predeceased his 
brother, left Henderland to the representative of the main line 
of the family, James Wolfe Murray of Cringletie, subject, how- 
ever, to some arrangements on the part of Lord Murray. On 
the death of Lady Murray, the estate was handed over, free, as 
originally destined. Among the property left to Lord Murray 
by his brother, was Ramsay Lodge, on the Castle Hill of Edin- 
burgh, which William Murray had received as a bequest from 
his cousin, Major-general Ramsay, whose mother, Margaret 
Lindsay, was a sister of the wife of Lord Henderland. This 
classic mansion, where lived and died the author of the Gentle 
Shepherd, was sold at the death of Lady Murray. 

Henderland was but a short time in possession of Mr Murray. 
In 1862, he excambed it with the Earl of Wemyss for Courhope 
and Cloich, which his lordship bought that year for 25,100 ; Mr 
Murray giving, in addition, the sum of 1550 to adjust the 
exchange. The sale of Courhope and Cloich, a pastoral tract 
adjoining Cringletie, offers one of the many instances of the rise 
in the value of property of this nature ; for as lately as 1840, it 
had been disposed of for 13,000. Extended by this acquisition, 
the Cringletie estate comprehends a considerable part of the 
high grounds west of the vale of Eddleston, including Upper and 
Nether Stewarton. Southwards, within the parish of Peebles, 
it includes Upper and Nether Kidston, also Kidston Mill ; the 
buildings of this last-mentioned place forming a picturesque 
group close upon the line of railway. In 1863, the valued 
rental of the estate was 2439, 4 s - Mr Murray inherits the 
small property of Westshield, in Lanarkshire, which had been 
purchased by his father, Lord Cringletie, and formed originally 
part of the Coltness estate. 

Cringletie House, situated on a plateau at the top of a steep 
bank, rising from the right bank of Eddleston Water, is said by 
Armstrong to be environed by ' an extensive plantation, to 



shield it from the rude blasts of Boreas, and add useful and 
ornamental value to its mature improvements.' Since this was 
written, the woods about Cringletie have increased in extent and 
beauty, and much has been done to add to the general amenity 
of the grounds. The old mansion having lapsed into a bad 
condition, the present proprietor adopted the wise policy of 
pulling it entirely down, and building a new one on a better 
scale, instead of attempting a mere reparation. An edifice in 

Fig. 50. Cringletie House. 

the picturesque old Scottish manor-house style, built of reddish- 
coloured sandstone, as represented in the adjoining cut, fig. 50, 
was completed in 1863, and is now occupied by Mr Murray and 
his family. The house contains some family pictures by good 
masters. Among these there is a remarkably fine portrait 
of Thomas Lord Erskine by Gainsborough, and one of his 
brother, the Hon. Henry Erskine, by Raeburn. The Countess 
of Buchan, mother of the Erskines, being a sister of Lord 
Cringletie's mother, they stood in the relationship of cousins to 
the Murrays, and in boyhood occasionally visited Cringletie 
to spend their summer holidays. A story is told of a 



dumb ' spae-wife ' calling when they were there, and indicating 
by signs, in a remarkable manner, what was to be Thomas 
Erskine's fortune. He would be a sailor, but (with a shake 
of the head) that would not do ; he would be a soldier, but 
(another shake) that also would not do ; lastly, affecting to 
read and harangue, and. graciously patting him on the back, 
she shewed by that means he was to be a great man ; whereupon 
the youthful spectators of the sport burst into the derisive shout : 
' Man, Tarn, ye '11 be but a minister after a'. ' Such remains a 
favourite anecdote at Cringletie, and we must allow that it faith- 
fully pictures the career of the great forensic orator, who, after 
being in the navy and army, lived to be Lord Chancellor of 

The access to Cringletie has been lately much improved, by 
carrying a high bridge across the river and railway, thereby 
lessening the extreme steepness of the approach. With glimpses 
from amidst the surrounding trees, the house commands a fine 
view down the valley towards Peebles, and northwards in the 
direction of Portmore. 

On the high grounds, on 

the opposite side of the 
Eddleston from Cringletie, 
lies the property of Windi- 
laws, augmented in a small 
degree by part of Glentress 
Common, in the manner 
formerly alluded to. Among 
the other lesser properties 
in the parish are Harehope, 
remarkable for its British 
hill-forts, now belonging 
to John Inch, also a farm 
usually called Cowie's 

Linn, which pertains to Sir 
Cowie's Linn. /*/: n/r 

G. Graham Montgomery, 

Bart., of Stanhope. This last-mentioned property, situated to the 


north of Darn Hall, was long, as in the case of the Portmore 
estate, in a backward condition, but has lately been in a course 
of improvement. Through it there pours a considerable burn, 
a feeder of the Eddleston, celebrated for a waterfall of about 
thirty-five feet, from which the farm has been designated. In 
fig. 51 (see preceding page), we offer a sketch of Cowie's Linn, 
which possesses much picturesque beauty. It is situated in a 
solitary ravine, at the distance of about half a mile from Early 
Vale, on the public road, and forms a favourite resort of summer 

The modern village of Eddleston, situated near the gateway 
to Darn Hall, is a model of neatness and good order ; and we 
should not omit to state, that neither here nor in any part of 
the parish is there a single public-house a contrast with what 
is mentioned by Armstrong in 1775, when there were three 
houses of public entertainment in the village. Till within the 
present century, Eddleston was noted for an annual fair on the 
25th September, which is now abolished. The spot on which 
it was held, is occupied as one of the stations of the Peebles 
Railway. The Eddleston Water, in its course of four miles from 
the village to Peebles, affords some good points for the pencil of 
an artist. 


IT would be difficult to point out in Scotland a drive of six 
miles, more charming than that from Peebles to Innerleithen. 

Mountain, river, wood, ruined border towers, gentlemen's seats 
environed in pleasure-grounds, and rich arable fields divided 
by hedgerows and plantations, all make up a scene of great 
natural and artificial beauty. Passing eastwards, by Eshiels, we 
reach the boundary of the parish of Innerleithen, at the base of 
the rounded knoll which is crowned by the ruin of Horsbrugh 
Castle. From this western verge, the parish extends a length of 
nine miles, with the Tweed as a frontage on the south, while the 
breadth northwards is about the same. 1 In its eastern division, 
the parish of Innerleithen presents one of those examples of 
county and parochial entanglement, common in this part of 
Tweeddale ; for while a portion of the parish lies within Selkirk- 
shire, part of Selkirkshire (Priesthope) lies within Peeblesshire. 
But there are other complications. We do not allude to a part 
of the parish being a section of the old suppressed parish of 
Kailzie, for that is now only matter of history. The strange 
thing is that, owing to the shifting or straightening of the Tweed, 
part of Traquair parish now lies on the north side, while small 
parts of Innerleithen parish lie on the south side, of the river. 

The surface of the parish may be represented as altogether 
pastoral and mountainous, except on the banks of the Tweed 

1 Superficies, 20,544.037 acres. Ord. Sur. 


and Leithen ; but from the lower arable lands, cultivation is 
spreading up the hills ; and, in some sheltered places, has reached 
a considerable height. The Leithen, a mountain stream, origi- 
nates in the north-western corner of the parish, and after a course 
of about twelve miles, falls into the Tweed. The word Leithen 
is significant of a water which overflows its banks, which remains 
a characteristic of this small river, in consequence of being the 
drainage of a spacious mountain tract liable to heavy falls of 
rain. In ancient times, the stream wound round the base of 
Pirn Hill before joining the Tweed, and this old run is still 
partly visible. The present exit, which is artificial, is in a direc- 
tion straight southwards from the village. Signifying ' upon the 
Leithen,' the name of the parish is occasionally spelled Inver- 
leithen. Popularly, it is sometimes called Henderlethane, under 
which designation it is referred to in various old records. 

The ancient parish church was given by Malcolm IV. (between 
1 159 and 1 165) to the monks of Kelso ; and afterwards the same 
monarch conferred the privilege of sanctuary on the church, as a 
species of acknowledgment for having given a resting-place for 
a night to the body of his natural son, who was unhappily 
drowned in a pool near the foot of the Leithen. In 1232, the 
church was confirmed to the abbey of Kelso, by William, Bishop 
of Glasgow, and there were many other charters of a like 
character ; all which were abolished by the Reformation. The 
church, that had been the object of so much solicitude, was an 
edifice with a chancel, which, falling to decay, was taken down, 
and a plain structure reared in its place in 1786 ; so badly, 
however, was this edifice constructed, that it is already becoming 
ruinous, and a new church, on a more convenient site, near the 
modern village, is at present under consideration. 

The old village of Innerleithen consisted of irregular groups of 
thatched cottages adjacent to the church, mill, and green, and 
straggling towards an old border tower, now removed, which 
stood near the site of the present public hall. In this olden time, 
the only secure thoroughfare across the Leithen was by a narrow 
bridge, picturesquely spanning the small stream opposite the 



green ; a sketch of which is presented in fig. 52. Now used by 
foot-passengers, this bridge connected the road by Pirn Hill with 
that which pursued its way by the Caerlee Hill, and so along the 
heights to Nether Horsbrugh. Portions of this ancient road are 
still visible among the woods of Glenormiston. 

Fig. 52. Old Bridge, Innerleithen. 

In 1787, when Innerleithen was visited by Robert Burns, on 
his pilgrimage to the ' Bush aboon Traquair,' the village was still 
much in its original condition ; but shortly afterwards, it got into 
shape along the new post-road. The first thing that gave a 
stimulus to the village, was the establishment of a woollen 
factory, about 1790, by Alexander Brodie of Carey Street, 
London. Brodie was a remarkable man in his time, a genius 
and philanthropist, whom it is well to commemorate. He was a 
native of Traquair, and bred a blacksmith. With ambitious 
notions, he quitted his native parish while still a lad ; his whole 
wealth consisting of 17^. 6d. in his pocket, which carried him to 
London. There, he pursued his profession, and so successfully, 
that he at length realised a vast fortune. Yet, during his career, 


Broclic never forgot the county of his birth. We have seen that 
he sent money, annually, to the magistrates of Peebles, to pay 
for the education of poor children. Under a strong impression 
that much good might be done by planting a factory at Inner- 
leithen, to use up the wool of the district, and give employment 
to the young of both sexes, he built a mill and equipped it 
with machinery, at a cost of .3000. There is reason to believe 
that this was not his sole outlay, for the concern was long on an 
unsatisfactory footing, and though benefiting the village, its 
promoter had no comfort in the undertaking. This benevolent 
man died in 1811, when the bulk of his fortune was divided 
among nephews and nieces in Peeblesshire. As a lesson to 
philanthropists, Brodie's mill did no good in a commercial sense, 
while fostered by benevolence. It was only when independent 
enterprise and capital were engaged in the undertaking, and when 
foreign wool was employed, that it was crowned with success. 

About the time when manufactures were introduced, notice 
began to be taken of a spring of mineral water 1 with medicinal 

1 Saline spring contains in one imperial gallon : 

Chloride of sodium (common salt), . 2 1 6. 72 grains. 

Chloride of calcium, .... 148. 16 << 

Chloride of magnesium, . . . i6. 77 

Sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salts), . . I . IS * 

Carbonate of lime, . . . " ., 5-3 " 

Carbonate of magnesia, . . . 0.52 

Carbonate of iron, . . . . o.i 5 

Silica, soluble, . . ."" . o. 67 

Bromine, . . . . . Present. 

Total saline matter in one imperial gallon, 389. I? grains. 

Sulphureous saline spring contains in one imperial gallon : 

Chloride of sodium (common salt), . . 133.04 grains. 

Chloride of calcium, . . . . 86. 49 , 

Chloride of magnesium, . ^~--* ' . 11.28 

Sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salts), . . 1.36 

Carbonate of lime, . . . 3 98 

Carbonate of magnesia, . . . 0.80 

Carbonate of iron, . . . o. M 

Silica, soluble, . . . l.oa 

Hydro-sulphuric acid (sulphuretted hydrogen), Present 

Bromine, ... . Present. 

Total saline matter in one imperial gallon, 238.21 grains. 


properties, rising on the slope of the Lee Pen, at a height of two 
hundred feet above the bed of the Leithen. Properly speaking, 
there were two springs, differing in quality, as will be seen 
by the preceding authoritative analyses by Dr Stevenson 
Macadam (1860) ; both are stated to be efficacious. For many 
years, visitors to this spa were unprovided with any accommoda- 
tion for drinking the waters ; at length, a species of pump-room, 
with veranda, was erected at the cost of the late Earl of 
Traquair, and the place got soon after an extraordinary degree 
of notoriety as a resort * for real or imaginary invalids. Other 
circumstances contributed. The celebrity of the place was 
enhanced in 1824, by the publication of Scott's novel, St Ronan's 
Well, the spa therein mentioned being fondly imagined to be 
that of Innerleithen ; and visitors were further attracted by an 
annual festivity, consisting of outdoor sports, established by an 
association called the St Ronan's Border Club. As a convenient 
residence for anglers, the village received a considerable accession 
of summer visitors, and it has been benefited by a wooden bridge 
of modern erection, which here crosses the Tweed to Traquair. 

Innerleithen has gradually outgrown its original character, but 
it still remains a village, without a vestige of municipal govern- 
ment to effect proper drainage, and take charge of various other 
matters concerning the health and comfort of those who think 
of making it a place of residence a state of things which, if 
persisted in, can scarcely fail to prove detrimental to general 
interests. The village, however, is increasing in dimensions. 
The old thatched cottages are nearly all gone, and the plainer 
order of dwellings are in the course of being replaced by houses 
of a better description. The village has an excellent inn, and 
adjoining it is a Public Hall * built by the late Earl of Traquair, 
under whose auspices annual horticultural exhibitions were 
initiated. Besides the parish church, there is a Free church, a 
United Presbyterian church, and an Independent chapel. In 
the village, there are two schools, two bank agencies, also a 
co-operative store, a number of excellent shops of various 

1 Height above the level of the sea, 479 feet. Ord. Sur. 


tradesmen, and many good lodging-houses. The railway from 
Peebles and Galashiels is to pass close to the village, and when 
opened, will not fail to prove advantageous. 

In 1 86 1, the population of the parish, within Peeblesshire, was 
1750; in Selkirkshire, 73: total, 1823. Of this number, 316 
belonged to Walker Burn, a newly erected manufacturing village 
situated on the Tweed, about a mile and a half to the east. A 
notice of this recently sprung-up village, leads us to an account 
of that surprisingly sudden growth of the woollen manufacture 
to which we formerly called attention. 

For about twenty-five years after the death of Mr Brodie, his mill, 
which had become the property of one of his nieces, had a succession of 
five or six tenants, by whom, until 1834, there was little improvement on 
the mode of manufacture. Messrs Dow, who rented the factory for ten 
years, were among the first who made those tartan shawls which have 
since become an important article of manufacture. These shawls were 
nearly all made of home-grown or Cheviot wool ; there being still little 
or no foreign wool employed. 

In 1839, Brodie's mill was purchased by Mr Robert Gill, and has since 
been greatly enlarged ; steam-power being added to the original water- 
power from the Leithen. At present, under the firm of Robert Gill and 
Son, this, the oldest, mill contains 6 sets of carding-machines, 30 power, 
and 20 hand looms, 4200 spindles, and employs upwards of a hundred 
work-people. The species of cloth made consists of tweeds, tartans, 
and flannel shirtings, on all which Australian or foreign wool is 

About 1845, a factory was established by J. & A. Dobson. For a 
few years, it was employed only in yarn-spinning; but to this were 
added the dyeing and weaving of cloth. Considerably enlarged, this 
establishment now contains 3 sets of carding-engines, 34 hand and 
power looms, and about 2500 spindles ; it gives employment to nearly 
a hundred work-people. The cloth manufactured consists of tweeds, 
tartans, and a variety of fancy shirtings. This factory is situated 
between the village and the Tweed, and the water-power is now supple- 
mented by steam. 

More recently, or about seventeen years ago, a large factory was built 
north of the village, or the furthest up the valley of the Leithen, by 
George Roberts and Son of Selkirk. It has ample water-power, and is 
provided with a wheel of great dimensions. In this establishment there 
are 5 sets of machinery, and 3632 spindles. The yarn produced is all 
sent to Selkirk to be woven into cloth. 


Near the foregoing mill is situated the factory of Charles Wilson and 
Son, established about the same period. It contains 3 sets of carding- 
machines, 1200 spindles, and 28 power-looms. The manufacture consists 
of blankets and plaidings, to which the firm has recently added the 
preparation of tweeds at a factory at Earlston. 

At Walker Burn, there are two factories with water-power from the 
Tweed. The first erected mill was that of Henry Ballantyne and Sons, 
about 1857, and since greatly extended. This is a finely arranged 
concern, covering a considerable space, and the machinery, as in all the 
other factories, is of an improved kind. It contains 7 sets of carding- 
machines, 32 hand, and 32 power looms, 8000 spindles, and gives 
employment to 200 workers. Besides the yarn produced, a considerable 
quantity is bought to keep the looms in operation. The manufacture 
is entirely of tweeds, Australian or foreign wool being almost 
exclusively employed. 

Near the above factory, and propelled by the same water-power, is 
that of James Dalziel and Company, called Tweedholm Mills. It 
contains 3 sets of carding-machines, and as much yarn is bought as 
would keep other 3 sets moving. There are 21 power, and 30 hand 
looms, also nearly 3000 spindles ; the whole of the newest construction. 

Through the agency of these two manufacturing establishments, 
Walker Burn promises soon to rival the principal village in the parish. 
The number of persons employed is 323, of whom a third are females. 
Altogether, there are about 500 inhabitants shewing an increase 
since 1861. Already, the place is provided with a school, also a 
co-operative provision store, and two shops. The members of the 
respective firms have neat dwellings in the neighbourhood. 

It is computed that the wages paid yearly in the factories of Inner- 
leithen and Walker Burn amount to about ^15,000, and that the wool 
used is in value about i 10,000. The value of the manufactured goods 
is about ^200,000. Adding to this, the value of the similar class of 
goods produced at the factory of Laing and Irving at Peebles, a total 
is made up of ^220,000 per annum within the county the whole of 
which productive industry is a creation of the last thirty years. 

In the early part of the seventeenth century, the principal 
landholders in the parish were the Stewarts of Traquair, the 
Horsbrughs of that Ilk, Tait of Pirn, Purvis of Purvis Hill, and 
the Laird of Prestongrange ; and that there was still little 
improvement is evident from the fact that, in 1657, the entire 
valued rental of the parish was only .4801, 13^. 2d. Scots, or little 
above 400 sterling. In 1863, there were six land-proprietors 


in the parish, besides seven considerable feuars, chiefly manu- 
facturers. The whole property of every description (within 
Peeblesshire) had a valued rental of 10,745, is. qd. The 
Traquair property continues to be of leading importance ; for it 
embraces the ground occupied by the village on the west side of 
the Leithen, along with the farms of Innerleithen Mains and 
Kirkland, and other lands ; and as much of the land is eligible 
for feus, the rental may be greatly increased. Latterly, the 
ground has been feued for building at the annual rate of 15 
per acre. 

As the Stewarts of Traquair did not make their appearance in 
the county until 1491, their tenure of lands in the parish of 
Innerleithen is not of great antiquity. Their acquisitions here 
were chiefly in the sixteenth and early part of the seventeenth 
centuries. One of the properties they acquired, called Home 
Huntersland, is now partly overspread by the village; it had 
long been a possession of the Tweedies of Drummelzier. 

In this parish is found, as we conceive, the oldest family of 
territorial distinction in an unbroken line in Peeblesshire, namely, 
that of Horsbrugh of Horsbrugh. The date of settlement of the 
family is lost in the mists of antiquity. The first of the race is 
believed to have been an Anglo-Saxon, designated Horse or 
Orse, who, settling on lands on the north bank of the Tweed, 
there reared the castle or burg, which communicated the present 
surname to his descendants. In old writs, the name is variously 
spelled Horsbroc, Horsbroch, Horsbruk, Horsburgh, and Hors- 
brugh, this last being now adopted by the family. 1 

The earliest record of the name occurs in the chronicle of the 
abbey of Melrose, in which, between 1214 and 1249, ' Symon of 

1 According to one of those mythic legends that are the pollution of Scottish family 
history, the name Horsbrugh is derived from the following incident. A hawk belonging 
to one of the early Scottish kings having flown across the Tweed, when it was in flood, 
a ploughman unyoked his horse, and recovered the lost animal. As man and horse 
stemmed the stream, the king cried out : ' May the horse bruik weel ! ' Horsebruik 
or llorsbrugh hence became the name of the man, who was rewarded with a gift of 
the estate. It is forgotten that, at the time of this alleged occurrence, the English 
language had not been introduced into Scotland, and that ploughing with horses was 



Horsbroc ' appears as a witness. After this, the name is intro- 
duced in various old charters through several centuries. Yet, 
it does not occur in the Ragman Roll, whether from some 
accidental circumstance, or because the lands of Horsbrugh may 
have been held from a subject superior, is matter of con- 
jecture. It is at least known that certain crown-rents exigible 
from Horsbrugh were gifted in 1336-7 to James Douglas, to 
whom the actual possessor would legally stand in the relation of 

Fig. 53. Ruin of Nether Horsbrugh. 

vassal. Whatever were the circumstances of the case, ' Alex- 
ander Horsbruk of that Ilk,' appears as unqualified proprietor, 
holding from the crown in 1479 > at which period the lands were 
divided into Over and Nether Horsbrugh ; and by these appella- 
tions they are respectively referred to in records. Over Hors- 
brugh remains the name of the farm on which the original 
fortalice is situated. On the Nether Horsbrugh section there 
was built, at a later date, and of greater strength, a feudal tower, 
still existing as a ruin. It is situated in a hollow on the margin 
of a mountain rivulet, and as represented in our engraving, fig. 53, 
is of a very massive character. 


Occupying these lands, which pertained to the parish of 
Kailzie, the Horsbrughs, from father to son, made no appearance 
in general history ; but as stated in preceding pages, they long 
acted as sheriffs-depute under the Lords Yester, hereditary 
sheriffs of the county ; and it has been seen that, on various 
occasions, members of the family, forgetful of their position, 
rendered themselves amenable to judicial interference. As a 
result, possibly, of these irregularities, the Horsbrughs fell into 
financial difficulties in the early part of the seventeenth century, 
precisely at the time when the Stewarts of Traquair and Shil- 
linglaw were able to benefit by their necessities. In 1617, they 
disposed of the superiority of their ' lands of Horsbrugh and 
others/ to Sir Robert Stewart of Shillinglaw for a few thousand 
merks. 1 In 1634, James Stewart, the son of Sir Robert, had a 
sasine of the lands of Nether Horsbrugh. Till this day, the 
Horsbrughs have not resumed the superiority so unhappily 
relinquished. Passing from the Stewarts by various changes to 
the late Duke of Queensberry, it is now possessed by the Earl 
of Wemyss, from whom the Horsbrughs hold this ancient patri- 
monial domain, at an annual feu-duty of 40, lOs. Scots. We 
regret to say, that the ruin of Horsbrugh Castle (pictured at page 
128, as it existed a few years ago) is rapidly disappearing, 
and that the landscape will soon cease to possess this interesting 

Suffering for a time a species of eclipse, the family recovered 
itself by marriage. About 1684, Alexander Horsbrugh married 
Margaret Tait, heiress of Pirn. Of this alliance there was a 
daughter, Janet Horsbrugh, who, in 1717, conveyed her inheritance 
to John Horsbrugh, the son of her father, by a second marriage 
with Margaret Mitchelson. 2 Henceforth, the Horsbrughs are 
known as residents at Pirn, a plain mansion situated in a hollow 
at the base of Pirn Hill, east from the village of Innerleithen, and 
which, with some additions, is represented in fig. 54 (see following 
page). About the time of making this fortunate marriage, 
the Horsbrugh family purchased the lands of Purvis Hill ; and 

1 Traquair Papers. a Horsbrugh Papers. 



bought Manorhead in 1754, and Caberston and Boldhaugh in 
1787. There were several lesser acquisitions, but none of the 
family possessions, except Pirn and part of Purvis Hill, is held 
direct from the crown. 1 Among the feudal superiors of the 
family is the royal burgh of Peebles, which, in virtue of old 
rights, claims various small dues from about Innerleithen. 

Fig. 54. Pirn House. 

Within the last twenty years, the value of the Horsbrugh 
property has been much improved by letting off feus on the east 
bank of the Leithcn, and more recently at Walker Burn, near 
Caberston. In 1863, the valued rental of the whole property was 
1390, i is. i id. ; but to this is to be added 260 for Manorhead 
in the parish of Manor. The present proprietor is Lieutenant- 
colonel Alexander Horsbrugh of Horsbrugh. On his property 
are the interesting Purvis Hill terraces formerly described. 

Nether Horsbrugh, once the property of the Stewarts of 
Shillinglaw, passed through various hands, until it became the 
property of Robert Nutter Campbell of Kailzie, by whose 

1 Horsbrugh Papers. 


trustees it was disposed of, in 1841, to James Ballantyne of 
Holylee, for (it is said) ^19,000. The lands are let as a farm, 
on which there is a steading, situated near the ruin of the old 
tower. Adjoining, are some large and very old ash-trees. 1 

Between Nether Horsbrugh and Innerleithen is situated the 
estate of Glenormiston. This compact property, of nearly 900 
acres in extent, has a front of a mile on the Tweed, whence 
it spreads upwards in a series of fields, ornamentally arranged, 
to the summit of the Lee Pen. The history of Glenormiston 
presents an epitome of the course of land improvement in 
Scotland. Anciently, it formed the 'ten pound land of 
Ormiston,' or popularly, Wormiston, and was little else than 
an open hillside, distinguished by a border-tower, which com- 
municated by signal with that of Cardrona, on the opposite 
bank of the river. Near the tower were two rows of elms, 
forming an avenue, and the only cultivation was that of a few 
acres in the lower grounds. 

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the lands were held 

1 Immediately below Nether Horsbrugh, the Tweed makes a sudden turn at the 
foot of a steep bank, and forms a deep dark pool called the ' dirt-pot, ' in relation to 
which, the following anecdote is related : ' In bygone days, Peeblesshire had its 
due proportion of drunken lairds, who, besides indulging in their own and their 
neighbours' houses, frequently spent a night in the chief inn at Peebles, on the 
occasion of attending the weekly market Their return home on horseback, in the dull 
mornings after these coarse convivialities, required considerable tact, as the roads were 
far from good, and in some places went along unguarded precipitous banks overhanging 
the Tweed. There was a particularly bad bit of road of this kind between Peebles and 
Innerleithen, called the dirt-pot. Now, it happened that a certain old laird had to 
pass this trying spot on his way home when more than half tipsy ; and it seems that 
on one occasion, he had been mortally affronted by some one alleging, by way of joke, 
" that he was afraid to pass the dirt-pot" This affront stuck to the laird. While 
sober, the recollection of it appeared to be in abeyance, but it always came back with 
full force when he reached a point of inebriety, and that was every night. Reaching 
this unhappy crisis, he broke out in an intolerably quarrelsome humour, muttering 
invectives on the subject which oppressed his mind : " Who says I am afraid to pass 
the dirt-pot ? I say, shew me the man that tells me I am afraid to pass the dirt-pot ;" 
and so on he would have gone till he became perfectly outrageous. But there was an 
understanding in the house about what was to be done on these occasions. No sooner 
had the ominous words "dirt-pot" escaped the laird's lips, than the lady, his wife, 
quietly touched the belL A servant entered the room, and, slipping behind the laird, 
seized hold of him in his arms, and dragged him off to bed the poor laird being 
heard all the way mumbling disjointed imprecations against all who dared to say he 
was afraid to pass the dirt-pot ! ' 


by Thomas Maitland, who in 1407 conveyed them to Robert 
Dickison of Hutcheonfield. William Dickison, a descendant of 
this person, possessed the estate in 1516, at which time it was 
held of the barons of Dalswynton, on payment of three red roses, 
as a reddendo. From the Dickisons, the property passed in 
detachments to the Stewarts of Traquair about 1533. A century 
later, the Stewarts held the lands from Lord Garlics, Earl of 
Galloway, and the reddendo was one red rose. After this, the 
superiority was conjoined with the property, and the estate was 
henceforth held immediately from the crown, with the same 
delivery, however, of a red rose annually ; and the whole 
was annexed to, and comprehended within, the barony of 

In 1789, the trustees of Charles, seventh Earl of Traquair, sold 
Ormiston to John Scott, writer to the Signet, for 8400. Now 
begins the improvement of the lands. Scott planted some belts 
of larch, and extended the area of cultivation. In 1805, his heirs 
disposed of the lands to William Hunter for 9910. From this 
time, the property was called .Glenormiston. Hunter must have 
been a man of fine taste. He was the great improver of the 
place, and all -he did was admirable. He laid out the lands in 
distinct and finely shaped fields, raised plantations, built a farm- 
steading, and erected the present commodious mansion. The 
only thing to be spoken of with regret respecting his regime, was 
the removal of the old fortalice. Mr Hunter died in possession, 
and in 1824 his trustees sold the estate to William Steuart 
for ^24,ooo. 1 By Mr Steuart, the lands were drained and 
otherwise improved, additional planting was effected, a new and 
spacious garden was made, and pavilion wings were added to 
the mansion. These various operations are understood to have 
cost 10,000. In 1849, Mr Steuart disposed of the property to 
William Chambers for 25,500.* Again, there was an effort 

1 Glenormiston Papers. 

* Mr Chambers, as already stated (p. 289), is a native of Peebles, where his 
ancestors, in the rank of burgesses and small proprietors, can be traced for several 
centuries. For any additional facts, reference is made to the well-known work, Men 
of the Time, also to Vapercau's Diclionnairc des Contcmporains (Paris, 1858). 



at improvement. Mr Chambers made an entirely new approach, 
the entrance to which 1 (at the distance of about four and a 
half miles from Peebles) is represented in the adjoining cut, 
fig. 55. He fresh drained a large part of the land, renewed fences, 
so altered the farm-steading, as to render it, as is generally 
thought, one of the best adapted for modern husbandry in the 
county, and built a number of labourers' cottages according to 
improved plans ; he likewise made some changes on the mansion, 

Fig- 55- Lodge and Entrance, Glenormiston. 

of which a sketch is given in fig. 56 (see following page). These 
and other alterations also cost 10,000 ; and uniting this outlay 
with that of previous proprietors, not less than the sum of 
30,000 has been altogether expended in rendering Glenormiston 
what we now see it. The valued rental in 1863 was 851, 6s. 
The woods are now well grown, and the whole estate spreading 
out ornamentally with a southern aspect, and bounded by the 
Tweed, which is seen shining at the foot of the green haughs, 
possesses much amenity both as regards climate and appearance. 

1 Height above the level of the sea, 520 feet Ord. Sur. 


Cultivation on the farm is carried to a height of noo feet above 
the level of the sea. Surmounting the arable land and its 
environing plantations, is the open heath, stretching as a sheep- 
pasture to the top of the Lee Pen. The peaked summit of this 
hill is 1647 feet above the sea-level. From the top is obtained 
an extensive prospect from Broad Law to the Eildon Hills in 
Roxburghshire, and embracing the royal burghs of Peebles and 
Selkirk. Partly included in the Glenormiston property, and 

Fig. 56. Glenormiston House. 

partly in that belonging to the Traquair family, is the knoll 
called Caerlee Hill (ordinarily known as the Curlcy), on which 
arc those remains of a British fort already the subject of notice. 
This ancient work of art may be easily reached by a pathway 
from Inncrleithen ; and it is worth visiting, if only for the view 
over the valley of the Tweed, and of its tributaries, the Lcithen 
and the Quair. 

A short way from the village of Innerlcithcn, and stretching 
northwards to the confines of the county, is a very extensive 
property known as Leithenhopes, comprehending the farms of 


Lee, Colquhar, Whitehope, Blackhopebyres, Williamslee, and 
Huthope several of these, however, being now united as a 
sheep-pasturage under one tenant. This valuable possession, 
which in former times belonged to the Earls of Hyndford, was 
purchased in 1852, for (it is said) 57,500, by John Miller, civil 
engineer. In 1863, the valued rental was 2657. Along the 
valley of the Leithen, and branching off by Glentress Water, 
there is an imperfect road towards Mid -Lothian, which is entered 
by a notch in the mountain ridge, called Dewar Gill. 

The Peeblesshire part of the parish, bounded by Gaithope 
Burn, includes Gaithopeknowe, belonging to James Ballantyne of 
Holylee. The valued rental of Gaithopeknowe and Nether 
Horsbrugh, in 1863, was 961. Mr Ballantyne's other posses- 
sions, and also his mansion of Holylee, being within Selkirkshire, 
a notice of them would be beyond the scope of the present 

Innerleithen forms a good point, whence tourists may 'turn 
aside to Yarrow ' distance about sixteen miles by Mont Benger 
to a pleasant resort for anglers and sportsmen at the head of 
St Mary's Loch. 


OPPOSITE Innerleithen, on the south bank of the Tweed, 
lies the parish of Traquair, 1 intersected in a strange 
manner by portions of Yarrow in Selkirkshire. Through it 
flows the small river Quair, which, after a course of a few miles 
from the higher grounds, falls into the Tweed. The name 
Traquair signifies the hamlet on the Quair; the meaning of 
Quair being the winding rivulet. Except along the borders of 
the small streams and the Tweed, the land is almost wholly 
pastoral. In a central part of the parish, on the road by 
Newhall Burn to Yarrow, stand the parish church and manse. 
The church is a neat modern structure, which superseded one 
of older date formerly dedicated to St Bryde, by which name, 
or that of Kirkbryde, the parish was originally known. The 
present parish was formed in 1674, by incorporating with St 
Bryde's all that portion of the suppressed parish of Kailzie which 
lay on the south side of the Tweed. North from the church, 
is the hamlet of Traquair Knowe, and here and there situ- 
ated on knolls, there are groups of a few dwellings, which, 
with the scattered houses of the proprietors, and their tenants, 
contain the whole population. Latterly there have been only 

'Area, 15,400.486 acres. Ord. Sur. In 1861, population 687. In 1863, valued 
rental, ^6107, IQJ. yd. 


four estates of any importance in the parish Traquair, 
Glen, Cardrona, and Kailzie. Traquair, at which we arrive in 
crossing by the bridge from Innerleithen, may first engage 

The deficiency of any distinct village disturbs the impressions 
made by old records concerning Traquair, which, in the twelfth 
century, was the seat of a sheriff, with a jurisdiction separate 
from that of Peebles, and for centuries subsequently, afforded 
accommodation to a barony court of some local importance. As 
Traquair House was visited by a number of royal personages 
from David I. to James VI. Edward I. of England included 
there must have been a considerable number of dwellings in the 
neighbourhood, all which have disappeared, leaving only a 
hamlet, with a detached mill, smithy, and school-house. Near 
these, in continuation of the turnpike road along the south side 
of the Tweed, a mountain track strikes off eastwards across 
Minchmoor, which, though barely passable for carriages, once 
formed a considerable thoroughfare between Selkirk and Peebles ; 
and it was by this route that the unfortunate Marquis of 
Montrose took his memorable flight from the field of Philiphaugh. 
At a point on the summit, where the road proceeding eastwards 
enters Selkirkshire, the height above the sea-level is about 1600 
feet. A short way in advance, at the head of the Plora Burn, is 
a spring traditionally known as the ' Cheese Well,' at which 
votive offerings were at one time placed by wayfarers across the 

The changes that have taken place through the natural decay 
of the woods and otherwise, leave it a matter of some difficulty 
to speak with precision of the spot commemorated as the ' Bush 
aboon Traquair.* The whole valley of the Quair and its gushing 
and sparkling tributaries, is dotted with indigenous birches 
and shrubs, the remains of the once famed Ettrick Forest, 
within which the district hereabouts was included. Fancy points 
out a group of birches and other trees on the west bank of the 
Quair, a short way above the mill, as being the real 'Bush* 
rendered classic by the lyrical composition of Crawford. As 


maybe seen from our sketch, fig. 57, the scene is simple and 
rural, and none could more fitly suit the purposes of the poet. 
The small river that murmurs at the foot of the bank has been 
alluded to in a song of more recent date, written by the late 
James Nicol, minister of the parish, a man inspired by the fire 
of genius, who composed a number of pleasing poetical pieces, 
among which the song, beginning, Where Quair rins sweet amang 
the flouirs, remains the most popular. James Hogg, whose 
boyhood was spent among the neighbouring mountains, has 
likewise contributed the charm of sentiment to this rural parish 
in his well-known song, Over the Hills to Traquair, 

Fig. 57. Bush aboon Traquair. 

With associations of this kind, the scenery invites attention by 
its fine old woods around Traquair House, the antique gateway 
to which mansion forms a species of local curiosity. Situated 
near the Tweed, amidst pleasing sylvan scenery, Traquair was 
thought so beautiful by Pennecuik as to be worthy of being 
described in verse : 

' On fair Tweedside, from Berwick to the Bicld, 
Traquair for beauty fairly wins the field ; 
So many charms, by nature and by art, 
Do there combine to captivate the heart, 
And please the eye, with what is fine and rare, 
So that few seats can match with sweet Traquair.' 


As a royal domain, the lands of Traquair were gifted by Robert Bruce 
to his zealous supporter, Sir James Douglas, after whom they passed 
through various hands into possession of a branch of the Murrays. On 
the forfeiture of William Murray, 1464, the property was given to William 
Douglas of Cluny; but he scarcely took possession, and Traquair 
was assigned to the Boyds, on whose forfeiture, 1469, the estate was 
resumed by the crown. It was now, in the manner that has been 
described (page 85), presented by James III. to his favourite esquire, 
Dr William Rogers, who, after possessing it about ten years, sold it for 
a most insignificant sum, in 1478, to James Stewart, Earl of Buchan. 
The Traquair Papers, now examined, fully verify the transfer of 
the property from Rogers to the Earl of Buchan, 1 who did not, as is 
generally alleged, receive the lands as a gift from the king, his relative, 
James III. 2 Buchan had an especial object in buying the lands. It was 
to bestow them on his natural son, James Stewart, who had a charter of 
Traquair from his father in 1491. This, the first of the Stewarts of 
Traquair (who received letters of legitimation), perished at Flodden, 
leaving a son, William, in whom the estate was largely extended. He 
had several sons, one of whom had a son styled Sir Robert Stewart of 
Shillinglaw, who, in conjunction with his kinsmen of Traquair, comes 
into notice in historical records. Shillinglaw, or Schelynlaw, was a 
property within the parish, with a residence on Curley Burn, long since 
fallen to ruin. As seen by previous extracts from public documents, the 
Stewarts were a troublesome clan in the eastern part of Peeblesshire, in 
the reign of James VI., a circumstance which did not obstruct their rising 
into favour at court In 1628, Sir John Stewart was raised to the 
peerage as Lord Stewart of Traquair, and in 1633 was elevated to the 
dignity of Earl of Traquair, Lord Linton, and Caberston. Of this 
nobleman and his reverses of fortune, as also of the irregularities of his 
son, the second earl, enough has been said in these pages. By the last- 
mentioned peer, Roman Catholicism was introduced into the family, 
through his marriage with Lady Anne Seton ; but he, also, in deep 
penitence, is said to have died a sincere member of the Church of 
Rome. He was succeeded by his elder son William, as third Earl, and 
he was succeeded by his brother Charles, as fourth Earl, who married 
Lady Mary Maxwell, daughter of Robert, fourth Earl of Nithsdale. 

1 By the late erudite antiquary, W. B. D. D. Turnbull, the whole of the Traquair 
Papers, so far as not destroyed by time or damp, have been described in the form of 
an analytical catalogue, to which we acknowledge particular obligations. 

1 Buchan is usually spoken of as uncle to James III. ; strictly, he was only half- 
uncle. He was a son of Lady Jane Beaufort (widow of James I.), by her marriage with 
Sir James Stewart, known as the Black Knight of Lorn. Through Lady Jane, the 
Stewarts of Traquair may trace their descent from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 
fourth son of Edward III., and father of Henry IV. 



Whatever we may think of the conduct of the first two earls, 
it is impossible not to sympathise in the vicissitudes of a family, 
which, among other causes of concern, has had the misfortune not 
to possess sufficient heirs to keep its titles in existence. Charles, 
eighth earl, dying unmarried in 1861, the male line and peerage became 
extinct. By the first earl, in his day of prosperity, the estate was 
prodigiously expanded ; but before his death, and during the life of his 
son, there were correspondingly extensive alienations. A century later, 
Charles, fifth earl, suffered various misfortunes, and was reduced to such 
straits, as to be obliged, soon after 1750, 'to sell to Lord March the 
lands of Nether Horsbrugh, Caberston, Gaithopeknowe, and Henderland, 
for which he got ^12,000 sterling ; and to the Duke of Buccleuch the 
lands of Dryhope and Kirkstead, who paid ^8000 sterling for them.' 1 
Ormiston was sold by the trustees of Charles, seventh earl, in 1789, 
since about which time the estate assumed its present shape. 

Though for many years living the life of a recluse, the late earl devoted 
himself with untiring patience to the improvement of his farms 
Howford and Grieston. Orchard Mains, Traquair Knowe, West Bold, 
Juniper Bank, and others. Some of the steadings he erected were of a 
very superior kind. Latterly, the rental has advanced, more particularly 
as regards the hill-farm of Craig-Douglas, now united with that of Black- 
house. In 1807, the rent of these two farms was ^535 ; it is now 
^"1300, with ;ioo in addition for shootings. In 1863, the valued 
rental of the estate was ^6638, is. 6|</. At present, the property is 
administered by trustees. The only surviving member of the family 
now in the county, is the Hon. Lady Louisa Stewart (sister of the 
deceased earl), who, as liferentrix of the property, resides at Traquair 
House. The heir destined by the will of the late earl to take possession 
of the property under a deed of entail, is the Hon. Marmaduke Constable 
Maxwell of Terregles, descended from Lady Catherine Stewart, fourth 
daughter of Charles, fourth Earl of Traquair, who was married to her 
cousin, John, Lord Maxwell, son of William, fifth Earl of Nithsdale, 
whose honours were forfeited for his concern in the rebellion of I7i5- 2 
Lady Catherine had only one surviving child, styled Lady Winifred 
Maxwell, who was married to William Haggerston Constable of 
Everingham. From their son, Mr Maxwell of Terregles is descended. 

Traquair House, or Palace, as it is sometimes called, received 
its present character from John, the first earl, since whose 

1 Border Antiquities, by Sir Walter Scott, vol. ii. p. 197. 

* The escape of this unfortunate nobleman, while under sentence of death in the 
Tower, through the ingenious contrivance of his wife, who dressed him in her clothes, 
is a well-known romantic incident. He died at Rome, 1744. 



time little has been done in the way of improvement. It is 
evidently composed of several buildings. Originally, it was 
nothing more than a border tower overhanging the Tweed, 
which here made a considerable bend. The river having been 
straightened by one of the Earls of Traquair which straightened 
part is now known to anglers as the New Water the house, 
increased by several additions, has been left standing at the head 
of a green meadow, where it towers amidst the trees, with its back 
towards the river. The front, depicted in fig. 26, faces south- 
wards along a broad avenue, which terminates in the gateway 

Fig. 58. Old Gateway, Traquair House. 

already noticed. Flanked by figures of two bears in stone, 
executed in 1747,' this structure is suggestive of a resemblance 
to what Scott describes in Waverley as the entrance to Tully 
Veolan. The walls of the house are of great thickness, and the 
accommodation generally is that of a past age. The library 
contains an interesting collection of old books, including three 
ancient and valuable volumes in manuscript : these are a copy 
of the Bible (Latin Vulgate) of the twelfth or early part of the 
thirteenth century, which had belonged to the abbey of Culross ; 
and two Books of Prayers of the fourteenth or fifteenth century 

1 Traquair Papers. 


all in beautiful penmanship, on fine vellum, and highly illumi- 
nated. In an adjoining building, an apartment is fitted up as a 
Roman Catholic chapel. 

Southwards from Traquair, lies the estate of The Glen, which, 
in its recently altered state, is a surprise among the hills. In 
the midst of the wildest solitudes, and after several turnings 
and windings, following the banks of the Quair, we arrive 
at a singularly enclosed mountain-valley decorated with all 
the prodigality of art. Anciently, the estate was possessed 
by a proprietress, * Sarra of the Glen,' who, in 1296, with other 
magnates of her sex, subscribed her allegiance to Edward I. 
Subsequent to this event, The Glen is found to consist of two 
distinct properties, with separate dwellings. In 1488, Wester Glen 
that furthest up the valley belonged to Thomas Middlemast 
of Greviston. From this family, it passed to the Murrays by 
marriage, and in 1664, it came into possession of the family of 
Veitch. Easter Glen, after successively belonging to the Stewarts 
of Traquair, the Crawfords, and Cranstouns, came finally, in 1737, 
into the hands of James Veitch, who permanently united the two 
properties. Veitch conveyed the whole estate to David Plender- 
leath in 1743 ; and his son, John Plenderleath, in 1796, sold it to 
Alexander Allan, banker in Edinburgh, for io,$oo. 1 It was 
then a mere sheep-farm, consisting of about 3500 acres ; and the 
house was only such as was suitable for a farm of this kind, 
consisting of a plain dwelling of two stories, with a stable and 
some other offices, the whole of the building being placed on a 
projecting plateau on the left bank of the Quair. While in this 
condition, The Glen may be said to have been consecrated in 
the beautiful and touching lyric, Lucy's Flittiri, composed by 
William Laidlaw, who afterwards became the confidential friend 
and amanuensis of Sir Walter Scott 

So remained the property until about 1815, when William 
Allan, during his father's life, began his improvements in 
draining, fencing, and planting, which greatly changed the 

1 The Glen Papers. 


character of the scene. Rough hill-land was ploughed and 
enclosed ; masses and belts of plantation were introduced, to 
give shelter and amenity ; the banks near the house were clothed 
with evergreens ; and the hollow of the valley was made to 
assume the appearance of a lawn. The house was also destined 
to take a new form. When, by the death of his father, Mr 
Allan became proprietor, he got his friend Playfair, the eminent 
architect, to design and build additions to the old dwelling, 
consisting more particularly of a new dining-room and drawing- 
room, one in each wing, retaining the original edifice, with its low 
roofs .and dingy passages in the centre. Country-gentlemen can 
commit no greater blunder with their property than trying to 
renovate old houses which are originally defective. Such was 
the error of William Allan, who, while Lord Provost of Edin- 
burgh, endeavoured to render his mansion of Glen the pride of 
the district ; but no outlay or contrivance could remedy the 
radical deficiency of the building. It has been stated that, on 
his numerous alterations and improvements on the estate and 
mansion, Mr Allan expended upwards of .30,000. 

A time arrived, when the whole was to be abandoned. In 
1852, the estate was brought to sale, and purchased for ^33,140. 
The new proprietor was Charles Tennant, son of John Tennant 
of St Rollox, Glasgow, and grandson of Charles Tennant, one of 
the most eminent practical chemists of his day, and remembered 
for his active public services in the west of Scotland. Delivered 
up to this new family, The Glen undergoes a metamorphosis 
which throws all previous doings into the shade. In the first 
place, the house is condemned, razed to the ground as an 
absurdity, which it really was. Then, after due levellings and 
excavations, there arises in its stead, one of those magnificent 
creations of David Bryce, in the old Scottish baronial style, to 
which it would require a volume to do justice. 

Whether as regards exterior effect or internal accommodation, 
few country mansions can match this picturesque structure. 
The entrance is from a spacious quadrangle on the north, so as to 
leave the entire southern side with the best apartments towards 


the sun. As represented in fig. 59, the quadrangle is entered by 
a bridge and gateway in a castellated style. Within the mansion 
is demonstrated an extraordinary ingenuity of architectural 
contrivance kitchen, larder, and servants' departments, public- 
rooms, guests' rooms, private family-rooms, business-room, library, 
billiard-room, smoking-room, &c. On the opposite side of the 

Fig. 59. The Glen House. 

quadrangle is a court environed with stables, possessing all 
the modern improvements. Beyond, are the gardens, green- 
houses, and vineries, on an extensive scale, with a tastefully- 
built farm-steading, and dwellings for gardeners and game- 
keeper. In front of the house, the grounds are laid out in 
terrace-walks and flower-parterres, with a bowling-green for 
outdoor recreation. In the park, a sheet of water of about 
three acres, in connection with the Quair, has been made, with 
a fine picturesque effect. Such is a very rough outline of 


what has been executed at The Glen during the last ten years. 
The entire outlay, we understand, has been equal to, if not con- 
siderably more than the price paid for the property. Taking 
into account the previous outlay by Mr Allan, it may be safely 
averred that the sum of ^70,000 has, one way or other, been 
expended in improving and adorning this estate, which even 
now is in a transition state, as is indicated by the valued rental 
(.760), and it is expected that, some years hence, a large addition 
will be made to the productiveness of the property. The estate 
comprehends some extensive hill-shootings. A short way from 
the house, up the valley of the Quair, is the curiosity in 
geology called Glendean's Banks, consisting of two lofty shelving 
cliffs, between which is a pathway leading to a mountain-pass 
into Yarrow. The distance of The Glen from Innerleithen is 
about four and a half miles. 

The most westerly estate in the parish is Kailzie, originally 
Hopkailzie, or Hopkeiloc, under which, or some similar designa- 
tion, it is referred to in records as early as the thirteenth century. 
The same name was also given to the ancient parish of which 
the estate forms a part. The ruins of the old church are seen in 
the midst of a bury ing-ground, at a place called Kirkburn. 
Hopkailzie is referred to in Peebles to the Play: 

' Hop-cailye and Cardrona 
Gatherit out thick fakl,' 

from which it would appear that the neighbourhood could turn 
out a considerable number of persons. In time, the prefix was 
dropped, and henceforth Kailzie (pronounced Kaylae, and derived 
from Coile, a wood) was the recognised name of the lands, 
the finer part of which lie in a hollow near the Tweed. 

In 1689, Kailzie was owned by John Balfour, sheriff-depute; in 
1740, by a person named Blyth ; and in 1767, by Captain 
Kennedy. 1 Improvements on the estate, to bring it into its 
present appearance, began about 1780, when the property was 
possessed by Gilbert Kennedy, a relative of the Kennedys of 
Auchtifardle and Romanno. With the consent of his curators, 

1 County Valuation Rolls. 



Mr Kennedy sold Kailzie by public auction, in 1789, to Robert 
Stoddart, at the upset price of 1 1,095.* As Mr Stoddart was a 
pianoforte manufacturer in London, his acquisition of Kailzie 
caused considerable surprise throughout the county, which as 
yet was not accustomed to see men of mechanical professions 
becoming land-proprietors. Stoddart was but a short time in 
possession. In 1794, at some advance on the purchase-money, 
he disposed of Kailzie to Robert Nutter Campbell, a person 
connected with property in the West Indies, who forthwith 

Fig. 60. Kailzie House. 

settled down here, and made considerable improvements. The 
mansion, as shewn in fig. 60, has undergone no change of struc- 
ture since his time. Falling into difficulties, consequent on the 
fatal depreciation of West India property, Mr Campbell, through 
trustees, sold, in 1841, the whole of his Peeblesshire property. 
Kailzie came into possession 'of James Giles, its present owner, 
at the price (it is said) of ^43,000. The mansion, which stands 
in a lawn with some fine wood, has an agreeable outlook to the 

1 Public Records, General Register House. 


Tweed. The estate includes Ferniehaugh and Scot's Mill in the 
parish of Peebles ; total valued rental in 1863, 1227, gs. 2d. 

Adjoining, on the east, are the lands of Cardrona, which were 
at one time known as Easter Hopkailzie, and are so called in 
the Scots Acts 1641. They derive their present name from 
a British fort, which existed on the brow of the hill over the 
modern mansion : the meaning of the word, Caerdronnach, 
being the castle on the knoll or ridge. Cardrona is one of the 
old estates in the county. It is mentioned in Peebles to the Play, 
and comes often into notice in public records, in connection with 
its ancient proprietors, the Govans. 

Laurence of Govan is spoken of as sheriff of Peebles in 1358, at 
which time he accounted to the exchequer for certain rents of Easter 

Hopkeiloc. In 1462, ' de Govan of Est Hop Kelyoc ' gives a 

charter to Andrew Young, relative to certain subjects in Peebles. In 
1534, Malcolm Lord Fleming grants a charter of the lands of Cardrona 
to William Govan. From these and other notices in old writs, it is 
evident that the Govans were connected with Cardrona as early as the 
fourteenth century, and likewise possessed considerable burgage property 
in Peebles, 1 from which we infer that they were at one time a family of 
some importance in both town and county. Of whatever note, they 
furnish an example of the complete disappearance of a surname. The 
Govans retained possession of Cardrona until 1685, when the property 
was disposed of to James Williamson of Hutcheonfield. After this, no 
more is heard of them except as burgesses of Peebles and the owners of 
certain patches of land in its neighbourhood ; and as such, the family has 
now disappeared. The last of the Peebles Govans was the late William 
Govan of Hawkshaw, who died in Edinburgh, 1819. The cause of their 
disposal of Cardrona was nothing new. William Govan and his son, 
John, labouring under the embarrassment of sundry heritable bonds for 
borrowed money, were under the necessity of relinquishing Cardrona to 
James Williamson, a principal creditor, who, on assuming possession, 
discharged a variety of encumbrances on the estate. 2 

Throughout the seventeenth century, the Williamsons were a rising 
family in Peebles, where they may be traced in the oldest existing 
records. In the reign of Charles I., they are seen to emerge from the 
throng of ordinary burgesses, and attain to the position of magistrates, 
and sheriff and town clerks. In 1635, James Williamson was provost; 
and three years later, when holding that office, he was delegated to the 

1 Cardrona Papers. 8 Ibid 


memorable General Assembly at Glasgow, and there subscribed the 
National Covenant. About the same time, there was an Alexander 
Williamson, and the two, seemingly father and son, were frequently 
nominated as chief magistrate. It was a troublous age in which they 
were successively at the helm of affairs. For about ten years, the town 
was garrisoned by a body of soldiers of the Commonwealth, who initiated 
their occupancy by bombarding Neidpath Castle, and who, as is learned 
from various records, notwithstanding the favourable reports of historians, 
were by no means pleasant neighbours. Conjunctures of this kind, how- 
ever, bring men of vigorous nerve to the surface. The Williamsons of 
Cardrona may date their territorial distinction from the tumults of 
Cromwell's invasion. The first property they acquired was the ' half of 
Melvinsland and Foulage,' in 1651, which had previously belonged to 
the Littles. It has been already mentioned that Melvinsland is the old 
name for Mailinsland. Here, then, on the eastern slopes of the vale of 
Eddleston, in the parish of Peebles, James Williamson, provost, starts as 
a land-proprietor. In 1659, Alexander Williamson, being provost, adds 
to the domain by receiving a feu-charter of Hutcheonfield from John, 
Earl of Tweeddale. In 1685, as above stated, James Williamson of 
Hutcheonfield became proprietor of Cardrona ; and he made a further 
addition to the family possessions by acquiring Heathpool, near Foulage, 
in 1699. Next, in 1702, we find him expanding the Cardrona property, 
by purchasing the hill-farm called Glenpoyt, or the Fawnburn Head, 
consisting of that portion of Selkirkshire which is projected down to the 
Tweed at Howford, and bounded by the lands of Traquair on the east. 
By all these, and some lesser acquisitions, the family, in the course of 
half a century, had reached the position which it has ever since retained 
a good example of an ancient line of burgesses of Peebles rising to 
the dignity of independent landowners. But the family did not altogether 
quit the old burgh. It retained for winter-quarters the town-mansion in 
the Northgate, already depicted in these pages, and latterly used as 
an inn. 

A desire to perpetuate his name in the district must have animated 
James Williamson, the purchaser of Cardrona, for in 1701 he executed a 
deed of entail, prescribing the line of succession. Passing regularly 
from father to son, the estate, at the beginning of the present century, 
was in possession of Walter Williamson, noted as one of the best 
specimens of the convivial old Scotch lairds. At his decease in 1824, 
the estate was inherited by his brother Charles, who died in 1827, and 
was the last in the male line. The heiress under the entail was his 
sister, Alison Williamson, and she dying unmarried, the property devolved, 
in 1843, on Captain James Ker, eldest surviving son of Katherine, 
youngest sister of the deceased laird. Katherine Williamson had been 


married to the Rev. Alexander Ker (a native of Peebles), minister of 
Stobo, and with several sisters before her, she could scarcely have 
anticipated that the family property would be inherited by her descend- 
ants. On becoming proprietor, Captain Ker assumed the surname of 
Williamson. He married Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir James 
Montgomery, Bart. ; and at his death in 1847, he was succeeded by his 
eldest son, Alexander Balfour Ker Williamson, an officer in the 7 8th 
Highlanders, who is now in possession. 

In a prominent situation near the top of the hill, environed by 
trees, stands the ruined tower of Cardrona, represented in a 
preceding page. This old fortalice was still habitable in the days 
of the Govans, and played no unimportant part in their feuds 
with the Stewarts of Traquair. Adjoining, on the heathy sward, 
are the marks of cultivation with irregular enclosures, likewise 
the remains of a roadway sloping to the foot of the bank, where 
a few thatched cottages are all that survive of the old populous 
hamlet, which sent its contribution of merry-makers to the 
Beltane festival at Peebles. The fighting-times being over, the 
lairds abandon the feudal keep, and come down hill, to be near 
the habitations of their retainers. There, on a convenient spot, 
projected from the base of the hill, and commanding a view of the 
Tweed in different directions, they build a dwelling conformable 
to the habits of a new and peaceful age. Pennecuik refers to 
'the new house of Cardrona, belonging of old, time out of 
memory, to the surname of Govan, chiefs of the name, now in 
the hands of Walter Williamson, late clerk of Peebles.' The 
house, thus spoken of as new in 1715, has been set aside to be 
used as offices, and in front of it was built, in 1840, that hand- 
some mansion, which we represent in the annexed cut, fig. 61 
(see following page). 

By the late proprietor, much was done to clothe the hillsides 
with plantations, which, being now well grown, the general 
aspect of Cardrona is considerably improved. At about a 
mile westward from the house, is the substantial farm-steading, 
Cardrona Mains. Adjoining, in an open field bordering on the 
Tweed, is an upright unshapely block known as the ' Standin 1 
Stane,' which, like similar ancient memorials, had probably been 


set up over the grave of a warrior who had perished on the spot. 
In the farm of Cardrona Mains, formerly called Standin' Stane, 
is comprehended the old farms of Highland Shiel, Kirkburn, 
and some others. In 1863, the valued rental of the estate, 
including what lies in the parish of Peebles, was 1350, i$s. 

Fig. 61. Cardrona House. 

Besides Glendean Banks, the parish is noted, geologically, 
for a slate quarry at Grieston, on the Traquair estate, which 
abounds in well demonstrated specimens of graptolites, or fossil 
zoophytes, impressed on the slaty structure. The quarry, 
accordingly, forms a subject of interesting investigation to men 
of science, and is often visited by others to see what is certainly 
a natural curiosity. The quarry is reached by a pathway leading 
up the hill from the farm-steading of Howford, a place which 
takes its name from an adjoining ford across the Tweed, much 
used by carts and carriages when the river is not too flooded. It 
also forms a thoroughfare for the neighbouring workmen and 
field-labourers, who wade across, morning and evening, on tall 
stilts in a very dexterous way. The whole scene, hereabouts, 
from Cardrona to Minchmoor, is beautiful, particularly in the 



clear air and sparkling sunshine of early morning ; and has been 
noticed in a simple Morning Seretiade, or Tweedside Carol. 

' I 've much to tell : o'er Minchmoor fell, 

A golden gleam 's pervading 
Traquair's green woods, Tweed's crystal floods, 
Which men on stilts are wading. 

Mark ! cuckoo's note, I hear it float 

From Howford wafted over, 
As pheasant whirs up to the firs, 

To seek his leafy cover. 

I wish you saw Cardrona Law, 
With furze in all their glory ; 
Its straggling sheep, its Border keep, 
That long will live in story. ' 

However insignificant, are not such the sights and circumstances 
which, in far-distant lands, hover in the imagination of natives 
of Tweeddale, and which, if failing to seduce them back to 
scenes of infancy, maintain a never-fading interest in the country 
of their birth ? 


MANOR, or, as it is sometimes written, Manner, is a small 
parish on the right bank of the Tweed, two to three 
miles above Peebles. It consists chiefly of the strath of 
Manor Water, 1 and extends in a southerly direction towards 
Megget. The parish is for the greater part pastoral ; the arable 
lands being confined mainly to the lower parts of the vale of 
Manor, and to the portion which stretches westwards from the 
junction of the Manor with the Tweed. On the tops of several 
hills that bound the valley, are found those British forts already 
enumerated, and in the lower ground the remains of border 
towers ; the most conspicuous of which is one at Castlehill. Two 
of the higher hills, on the west side of the valley, are Scrape, 
which, by the Ordnance Survey, rises to a height of 2347, and 
Dollar Law, to a height of 2680, feet above the level of the sea. 

Anciently, the church of Manor was a dependency of the 
rectory of Peebles, a state of things which terminated at the 
Revolution. The old church was situated on Newholm Burn, 
near Langhaugh, in the upper part of the valley, and was styled 
Saint Gordian's or Gorgham's Kirk. According to tradition, the 
materials of this inconveniently situated edifice were removed to 
build the present parish church, which occupies a pleasant 
central spot on the left bank of the Manor, with the manse of 
the minister in its close neighbourhood. Church, manse, a 

1 Superficies, 16,671.691 acres. Ord. Sur. Valued rental in 1863, .4526, 19*. 6d. 

MANOR. 399 

smithy, and one or two cottages, constitute Kirkton, or all 
that we have for a village. Almost adjoining, on the south, is 
the mansion of Hallyards, at the turn of the road to which lies, 
in no very dignified situation, a font stone that had been dropped 
or placed as a landmark in the course of its transit from Saint 

In 1 86 1, the population of the parish was 247, a number that 
perhaps ill represents a former condition of affairs, when there 
were four mills in the valley more, however, than there was 
proper employment for, if we are to credit the old rhyme : 

' There stand three mills on Manor Water, 

A fourth at Posso Cleugh ; 
If heather-bells were com and bear, 
There would be grist eneugh.' 

The four mills are, of course, significant of there being as many 
lairds, who endowed them respectively with the right of thirlage ; 
and records shew us that the parish was by no means deficient 
in families of territorial importance, who, with their attendants, 
must have exceeded in numbers the present meagre population. 
Among the names of old proprietors, Baddebie, Baird, Burnet, 
Lowis, Marischal, Trumble, Haswell, Inglis, and Scott, are 
conspicuous ; though all have now disappeared, we may say 
something of one or two of these families, more particularly the 
Burnets of Barns, of whom many will retain a recollection. 

Until 1838, the Burnets were a leading family in the county, and 
in their disappearance there is something sorrowful. They claimed to 
be descended from Robert Burnet of Burnetland, designated * Robertus 
de Burnetvilla, miles,' when subscribing as a witness of charters in the 
reign of David I. Burnetland is a small property in the parish of 
Broughton, and seems to have been their earliest possession. Without 
relinquishing Burnetland, they acquired lands in Manor parish, but when, 
is uncertain. We conclude it was before 1400, for in that year there is a 
mortification of a chaplainry of the Holyrood, in the Kirk of Saint 
Gordian of Manor, by ' John Burnet of that Ilk,' which chaplainry he 
enriches with the rents of some tenements of lands belonging to him in 
the town of Peebles. 1 One of the Burnets appears to have married 
Margaret of Caverhill in 1472 ; and in 1498, Elspeth of Caverhill gives a 

1 Barns Papers. 


tack of part of her lands to ' her cousin, John Burnet.' ] From these and 
other circumstances, it is evident that the Burnets, or Burnetts, had 
established themselves in the parish of Manor in the fourteenth century. 
They took up their residence at the place now called Barns, on the 
Tweed, and there they built their tower or fortalice, of which, in its 
preserved condition, covered with ivy, we have presented a sketch 
(page 117). Over the grated door is cut, in figures, the date 1498, the 
execution of which, in our opinion, is comparatively modern, but the 
figures may nevertheless define the age of the building. Above one of 
the upper windows are carved, in raised Roman letters, W. B. M. S. 
These are the initials of William Burnet and his wife, Margaret Stewart, 
a lady of the House of Traquair. As the William Burnet here indicated 
was not served heir to his father till 1574, and is the laird who under 
the nickname of the Howlet was renowned (1591) for his sagacity in 
conducting midnight expeditions, the date 1498 bears no reference to 
him or his wife ; but it may have been inscribed by his orders. Such a 
theory, at least, agrees with the comparatively modem carving of the 
figures. Although the Howlet at times gave some trouble to the Privy 
Council, he was, like all the Burnets, a stanch Cavalier, and turned out 
at the Weapon Show of 1627, at which he is described as 'William 
Burnet, elder of Barns, present, well horsed, with- a buff coat and steel 
bonnet, lance and sword; accompanied with seven horsemen.' For 
two centuries after this, the Burnets were proprietors of a large portion 
of Manor, also lands in the parish of Peebles. We have before us a 
rental-book kept by James Burnet of Barns, between 1716 and 1760, 
from which it appears that besides the lands of Barns, he owned 
Haswellsykes (a place deriving its name from an old proprietor), Over 
Glack, Kirkton, part of Woodhouse and Hallmeadow, Templehouse, 
Hallmanor, Manormill, Castlehill, and Glenrath, also part of Bonning- 
ton; the total rental being entered as ^3931 Scots, which, in the 
present day, would reach nearly the same amount in sterling. 

The laird who kept these accounts died in 1771, and was succeeded 
by his son James, by whom, in 1773, was built the modern mansion of 
Barns, situated near the Tweed, at about a hundred yards in advance of 
the old tower. During the remainder of the eighteenth century, while 
the family continued to take a leading part in county matters, some 
changes occurred in the estate. Those parts of Woodhouse and Glack 
which the laird possessed were exchanged with Sir James Naesmyth for 
his portion of Caverhill. Afterwards the fortunes of the Burnets began 
to decline, chiefly owing to embarrassments created by borrowing money 
to lay out in improving the estate. Certainly, both by the old laird and 

1 Barns Papers. 



his son and successor, Captain Burnet, the last in particular, very exten- 
sive improvements were effected as regards building, planting, draining, 
liming, and fencing. The unfortunate result, perhaps, conclusively shewed 
that improvements on land can be safely undertaken only when there 
are means to do so, apart from a limited rental; it being at least certain 
that, without spare capital to begin with, Peeblesshire could not have been 
made what it is. This truth in rural economics was painfully experienced 
in the present instance. Pressed upon by difficulties, Captain Burnet at 
length, in 1838, sold such portions of the estate as had not previously been 

Fig. 62. Bams House. 

disposed of; the price realised by this final sale being ^52,500. Captain 
Burnet, the last of a long line of lairds, died in 1855. His eldest surviving 
son, now the representative of this ancient family, is William Burnett, 
lately a merchant in Demerara, where he held several important colonial 
appointments, and still has the rank of lieutenant-colonel of militia. 1 

1 By Mr Burnett the whole of the Barns Papers have been obligingly placed at our 
disposal, and we regret exceedingly that, for want of space, we cannot make those 
extracts to which, from their historical value, they are entitled. Among the documents 
are some curious letters of the first and second Earls of Traquair to the Laird of Bams, 
to whom they were related ; also a still more curious paper, a challenge from Lord 
Linton to William Murray, brother to Lord Elibank, 23d April 1656, carried by 
William Bumet, who certifies its delivery. In this large collection of papers is found 
that old and correct list of the Weapon Show, 1627, which has been introduced into 
the present work. 


The dismemberment of the Barns estate introduced some new 
proprietors. Castlehill, Hallmanor, and Glenrath were acquired 
by Tweedie of Quarter; valued rental in 1863, 885. Barns 
Proper, including Caverhill, Haswellsykes, and some other lands, 
were purchased by William Alexander Forrester for 27,500 ; 
valued rental in 1863, 806, QJ. 6d. Mr Forrester, who resides in 
the mansion at Barns, above pictured, is son of the late George 
Forrester, surveyor-general of customs for Scotland, and is 
descended from Robert Forrester, merchant, provost of the burgh 
of Peebles in 1703.' Woodhouse and Glack have undergone 
several transfers. In the early part of the present century, 
the lands were possessed by the Naesmyths of Posso, by whom 
they were sold to Andrew Ballantyne, merchant in Glasgow, 
son of the farmer on the property. At the decease of Mr Ballan- 
tyne, the lands were inherited by his brother, at whose death, 
in 1863, Woodhouse and Glack were purchased by William 
Kidd of Fleet Street, London, for 18,700; valued rental in 
1863, 620. 

On the property of Woodhouse, a short way west from the farm- 
steading, is the cottage once occupied by David Ritchie, the acknow- 
ledged original of Scott's ' Black Dwarf,' who was born of poor parents, 
in the parish of Stobo, about the year 1740. His decrepitude was only 
in his legs and feet, which were bent and unshapely to an extraordinary 
degree ; and from this deformity he was usually known in the neighbour- 
hood as ' Bowed Davie.' An unhappy sensibility as to his personal 
appearance, gave a misanthropical turn to his character. He acquired 
no regular means of gaining a livelihood ; shrunk from society ; and 
finally found a refuge on the farm of Woodhouse, parish of Manor, 
where, by the favour of the proprietor of the lands, he was allowed to 
build for himself a small cottage. 

In the erection of his humble dwelling, David availed himself as little 
as possible of any aid from others, seemingly taking a pride in being the 
fabricator of his own abode, which, although small, he put together with 
an extraordinary degree of solidity, the walls consisting of alternate 
layers of large stones and turf. He covered his miniature dwelling with 
his own hands with a neat, thatched roof. The door was only three feet 
and a half high, beneath which he could with ease stand upright. After 

1 Papers of the Forrester family. 



completing his dwelling, he enclosed a garden with a strong wall ; and 
in future his time was principally spent in horticultural labours, which 
did equal credit to his taste and his industry. He likewise kept bees, 
which became a source of emolument as well as of amusement. His 
hermitage was occasionally visited by his more kindly-disposed neigh- 
bours ; all, however, requiring to treat him with marked respect. Among 
his visitors was Dr Adam Ferguson, while at the neighbouring mansion 
of Hallyards. In the year 1797, Walter Scott, then a young barrister, 
paid a visit to the venerable professor ; and among other curiosities of 
the district, he was taken to see the dark hermit of Woodhouse. It was 
doubtless on this occasion that Scott received those impressions which 
afterwards figured in the character of ' Elshender the Recluse.' 

Fig. 63. The Black Dwarf's Cottage 

At the first sight of Scott, the misanthrope seemed oppressed with a 
sentiment of extraordinary interest, which was either owing to the lame- 
ness of the stranger a circumstance throwing a narrower gulf between 
this person and himself, than what existed between him and most other 
men or to some perception of an extraordinary mental character in 
this limping youth, which was then hid from other eyes. After grinning 
upon him for a moment with a smile less bitter than his wont, the dwaif 
passed to the door, double-locked it, and then coming up to the stranger, 
seized him by the wrist with one of his iron hands, and said : ' Man, ha'e 
ye ony poo'er 1 ?' By this he meant magical power, to which he had 
himself some vague pretensions, or which, at least, he had studied and 


reflected upon till it had become with him a kind of monomania. Scott 
disavowed the possession of any gifts of that kind, evidently to the great 
disappointment of the inquirer, who then turned round and gave a 
signal to a huge black cat, hitherto unobserved, which immediately 
jumped up to a shelf, where it perched itself, and seemed to the excited 
senses of the visitors as if it had really been the familiar spirit of the 
mansion. ' He has poo'er,' said the dwarf, in a voice which made the 
flesh of the hearers thrill, and Scott, in particular, looked as if he 
conceived himself to have actually got into the den of one of those 
magicians with whom his studies had rendered him familiar. 'Ay, he has 
poo'er,' repeated the recluse ; and then, going to his usual seat, he sat 
for some minutes grinning horribly, as if enjoying the impression he had 
made ; while not a word escaped from any of the party. Mr Ferguson 
at length plucked up his spirits, and called to David to open the door, 
as they must now be going. The dwarf slowly obeyed ; and when they 
had got out, Mr Ferguson observed that his friend was as pale as ashes, 
while his person was agitated in every limb. Under such striking 
circumstances was this extraordinary being first presented to the real 
magician, who was afterwards to give him such a deathless celebrity. 

David's cottage falling into disrepair about the year 1802, Sir James 
Nasmyth kindly ordered a new one to be erected for him and his sister, 
but with a division-wall to separate the dwellings. Here he lived till 
the period of his death, in 1811. His sister survived him some years. 
While he resided in the cottage, it was covered with thatch ; latterly, 
the roof has been renewed with slates. The interior remains much as it 
was left by the recluse. David was buried in the churchyard of Manor, 
about half a mile distant. His grave was long undistinguished, except 
by a small mountain-ash, which had been planted by some friendly hand. 
More definitely to mark the spot, a stone with a simple inscription was 
set up in 1845. 

Besides the monument at the grave of the Black Dwarf, the 
churchyard contains some old tombstones with inscriptions 
worthy of notice. We copy the two following : 

On the tombstone of William Ritchie, tenant in Woodhouse, who 
died 1737, and his family : 

' Oh, that the dead might speak, and in a strain 
To charm each death-form'd doubt, and heartfelt pain ! 
Might tell the timid sons of vital breath, 
How soft and easy is the bed of death ! 
Might from this moral truth rich comfort give, 
That man but lives to die, and dies to live.' 

MANOR. 405 

On the tombstone of Robert Johnston, smith, who died 1732 : 

' Death is a debt of nature due, 
Which we have paid, and so must you. 
Life, how short ! Eternity, how long ! 
Then haste, O haste ! make no delay, 
Make peace with God, for the great day. ' 

Occupying the western side of the valley, Woodhouse has an 
outlook in an easterly direction towards the ancient property of 
Hundleshope, part of which stretches along the margin of Manor 
Water. Hundleshope, now reduced to a farm, in former times 
comprehended along with it, Bellanridge and Hallyards. From 
the frequent notice of its proprietors in old records, it must have 
been a place of some importance. In the thirteenth century, the 
lands were in possession of ' Archibald of Hundewalchopp ' or 
' Hundewaluchisope ' the orthography of the word, which is 
plainly Hound-Wells-Hope, having sorely tried the scholarship 
of our ancestors. David II. granted the lands to ' John Trumble.' 
How long this new family was in possession, is uncertain. In 
1603, as seen by our extracts from the Privy Council Records, 
Hundleshope was owned by a family named Scot, or Scott, with 
whom it long remained. Thomas Scott of Hundleshope had six 
men well horsed at the Weapon Show, 1627. In 1635, John 
Scott of Hundleshope came into collision with the magistrates of 
Peebles, on account of a disputed claim to a part of Caidmuir. 
Captain David Scott, whom Pennecuik designates ' late of the 
Foot Guard,' had a charter of Hundleshope as heir of his brother, 
1701. Scott of Hundleshope was sheriff-depute of Peeblesshire, 
1736. After this, there is no further notice of the Scotts. In 
1746, the property was advertised for sale in the Caledonian 
Mercury. It is described as 'paying of yearly free rent 11 1, 
\js. id. sterling, beside some superiorities, with a convenient 
House lately built, with good offices and a kitchen-garden.' By 
way of recommendation, it is added : ' There are several thousands 
of thriving young Planting, and a little Bush of natural Elder, 
a good part thereof being fit for cutting, and plenty of Peat.' 

With these amenities, Hundleshope hung in the market until 


1748, when it was sold to 'Walter Laidlaw, tenant in Wood- 
houselee,' with whose family it remained till his death, 1783 ; three 
years after which event, the estate was again advertised for sale. 
It is then said to consist of the farm of Hundleshope, 200 acres 
arable, and 2000 of excellent sheep-pasture ; Bellanridge, a farm 
of 200 Scots acres ; and Hallyards, on which there is a convenient 
house, a good garden, and a pigeon-house, along with the Mill- 
town, mill, and parks free rent of the whole about 250. 
Nothing is said about peats, that kind of fuel being now 
abandoned, and coal having come into use. The estate was 
purchased in 1787 by Mungo Campbell of Grenada, to whom, 
1794, succeeded his son, Robert Nutter Campbell, who became 
proprietor of Kailzie. During a considerable part of his pro- 
prietorship of Hundleshope, he seems to have let Hallyards to Dr 
Adam Ferguson, author of the History of the Roman Republic, 
and predecessor of Dugald Stewart in the chair of Moral Philo- 
sophy in the university of Edinburgh. Professor Ferguson 
was now in the decline of life, and had relinquished all burden- 
some duties. On returning from a visit to Italy, he took up his 
residence in Peeblesshire. The mansion he first occupied was 
Neidpath Castle, 1 whence he removed to Hallyards. There 
mingling literary recreation with some attention to rural affairs, 
he spent agreeably fourteen years, and then removed to St 
Andrews, where he died. 

Embowered among old trees, with windows to the south, 

1 At this time there lived in Peebles a Mr Robert Smith, butcher, a smart little 
man, who, when in full dress, wore powder, and had otherwise so gentlemanly an 
appearance, that he would have passed anywhere for a person of distinction, if he could 
only have maintained silence. That he was not devoid of confidence, will appear from 
an anecdote related to us by the late Sir Adam Ferguson, son of the professor. One 
afternoon, 'Mr Smith, from Peebles,' was announced at the castle, and being shewn 
in, was received with the usual urbanity of the professor, who imagined him to be a 
person of some importance in the neighbourhood. Rob had, of course, called to see 
about getting a customer, to recommend his veal, and so on ; but unfortunately there 
was no time to talk of business, for the members of the family were about to sit down 
to dinner, of which Mr Smith was hospitably invited to partake. No way abashed, 
Rob took his place with the rest of the company. There appeared, however, to be 
something wrong with him. He did not do justice to the dinner. ' I am sorry, Mr 
Smith, to see that you don't eat,' said the host with polite solicitude. 'Well, to tell 
you the truth, professor,' replied Rob, ' I never have any appetite on killing-days !' 

MANOR. 407 

overlooking the little river which goes murmuringly on its way 
not many feet distant, Hallyards was a fitting retreat for the 
venerable professor, whose study (one of the apartments) is 
still pointed out. During his occupancy, the garden was greatly 
enlarged, and surrounded with its remarkably high wall ; and 
the professor furnished the garden with a handsome sun-dial, 
which stands in the centre of the radiating walks, bearing the 
inscription, ' SOLI POSUIT. A. FERGUSON, 1803.' 

Fig. 64. Hallyards. 

Hallyards being separated from the rest of the property 
about 1817, was disposed of by the Campbells, in 1836, to 
Andrew Clason, writer to the Signet in Edinburgh. The Mill- 
town, or Milton, a small villa on the opposite side of the Manor, 
was included, and the price paid was ^23OO. 1 Mr Clason lived 
here till his death, having effected some improvements during 
his tenure. From his heirs, Hallyards and the Milton were 
purchased, in 1851, for the sum of 3500, by William Anderson, 
merchant in Leith, by whom some handsome additions have 

1 Hallyards Papers. 


been made to the house. Hundleshope and Bellanridge are now 
two detached farms. After several transfers, Hundleshope, as 
formerly stated, was purchased by Sir Adam Hay for 15,000. 
Bellanridge was acquired by the Earl of Wemyss, and now forms 
part of his extensive estate. 

In a wall along the roadside, at Bellanridge, is a large rude 
slab with some natural markings, which is fancied to have been 
set up as commemorative of a battle on the spot, and that the 
lands accordingly received their present name from Bellum, war. 
The name, however, is modern, and has nothing to do with 
Bellum. It was formerly spelled Belling or Bellin' ridge, and has 
seemingly no higher origin than the heather-bells for which the 
valley of the Manor is celebrated. 

The Bairds, an old family already alluded to, were merged by 
marriage in the Naesmyths of Posso, and till this day the 
family (see DRUMMELZIER) possesses this ancient inheritance, 
which consists in the lands of Kirkhope, Posso, Newholm Hope, 
Dollar Burn, and Langhaugh (valued rental in 1863, 897, IQJ.). 
These properties are situated in the higher part of the valley. 
Posso Craig was at one time celebrated for its breed of falcons, 
used in the sport of hawking ; and it will be recollected that, in 
the Tales of my Landlord, Henry, son of Sir William Ashton of 
Ravenswood Castle, gets his hawks from Posso an allusion 
traceable to Sir Walter Scott's visit to the parish of Manor. 

The valley, narrowing greatly beyond Posso, becomes wild 
and pastoral. The most distant property is Manorhead, 
belonging to Lieutenant-colonel Horsbrugh of Horsbrugh. At 
Manorhead, a bridle-path conducts across the ridge, styled the 
Bitch Craig, into Megget, a route sometimes adopted by travellers 
on foot from Peebles to Yarrow. 

Shut up in a great measure by Caidmuir on the east, the 
parish is ill provided with communication with Peebles, the 
more ostensible road from which is by the hill called Manor 
Swire, and the bridge across the Manor, that has been already 
the subject of remark. 


THIS is a parish of a very extraordinary kind. It consists 
of two districts, one known as Lyne, the other as Megget, 
separated by about fourteen miles, without any proper 
connecting road, and yet both making but one parish in a civil 
as well as ecclesiastical sense. The Lyne division is situated 
immediately west from the parish of Peebles, with the small 
river Lyne as a frontage on the south, and is of comparatively 
limited size. Megget, lying to the south of Manor, borders on 
Selkirkshire, and is of considerably greater dimensions. 1 A 
deficiency of legally exigible means to maintain two ministers, 
and probably also a deficiency of inhabitants, promote this 
anomalous combination, which is attended with no small incon- 
venience to the parish minister, whose church and manse being 
in Lyne, he must periodically, and in all states of the weather, at 
almost the risk of life, travel by a wild mountain-track to reach 
his few Megget parishioners. 

In 1 86 1, the population of the united parish was 134, and the 
number of inhabited houses was 49. The valued rental in 1863 
was 4497, ios., of which all, except 54, pertained to the Earl 
of Wemyss ; a large part of the property having belonged to 

1 Superficies, 17,292.989 acres, of which Megget comprehends 14,499.913 acres. 
Ord. Sur. 


the old March estate. The latest of his lordship's acquisitions 
is Henderland, a farm in the lower part of Megget. 

The best known division of the parish is Lyne, comprising the 
farms of Lyne, Lyne's Mill, and Hamildean. On that called 
Lyne, are the remains of the Roman camp, already described ; 
this most interesting but greatly injured work of art being, we 
regret to say, in the course of gradual obliteration, for want of 
being enclosed. Shamefully as it has been damaged, the camp 
is still eminently worthy of being visited, and seated on its 
crumbling remains, one does not fail to be impressed by the 
gigantic character of the power which had produced a military 
post of such extraordinary dimensions. We learn from Pennecuik 
that, in his day, the camp was called by the country people 
Randal's Walls. Armstrong speculates on the probability of 
Randolph, Earl of Murray, regent of the kingdom, during the 
early minority of David II., having built a house here. Of any 
such house, however, there has not for more than a century been 
the slightest vestige, and there is nothing in history to verify 
the tradition. We can only dimly speculate on the possibility 
of Randolph having had some species of temporary hunting 
abode here, when accompanying the young prince, David II., 
on his visit to Peebles. On the north is the farm of Hamildean, 
with the hill of the same name, which is surmounted by a 
British fort of large size, but not of an elaborate kind. The 
term Hamildean, applied also to a hill near Peebles, is probably 
derived from Homil or Hamil, an old name in the county. 

The parish church of Lyne, occupying the summit of a grassy 
mound laid out as a burying-ground, is a fine feature in the 
landscape. Of an antique style, it is not, properly speaking, old, 
for it is stated to be a re- erection of a previous building on the 
spot, the same materials having been employed. The date of 
this re-edification is about 1644. Its restorers were John, Lord 
Hay of Yester (afterwards first Earl of Tweeddale), and his 
second wife, Margaret Montgomery, daughter of Alexander, 
sixth Earl of Eglinton. The initials of this pair, L. J. M. H., L. Y., 
are ingeniously combined in a monogram, carved on one of the 



seats. A stone safe lintel over one of the windows bears the 
inscription : ' Holiness becumis this Hous, O Lord.' The 
interior of the church has lately been much improved, to 
accommodate the small congregation. 

Fig. 65. Lyne Church. 

Megget, though remote and pastoral, possesses some interest. 
Along the valley flows the small river Megget, which, after 
gathering tribute from various burns, falls into St Mary's Loch. 
One of the rivulets on the left, called Glengaber Burn, is a wild 
mountain torrent, bringing down debris, in which are found 
particles of gold ; and the search for this precious metal on the 
banks of the streamlet was seriously prosecuted in past times, 
but without any good effect, as the quantity found was too 
insignificant to pay the expense of working. A specimen of 
the gold lately picked up here may be seen in the museum at 

Anciently, the vale of Megget was known as Rodonna, and 
formed a favourite hunting-ground of the Scottish sovereigns, 
until the deer were extirpated or became scarce in the reign of 
Queen Mary. At Cramalt, about half-way up the valley, there 


is said to have been a royal hunting-seat, and certainly there 
was here a tower of considerable size, of which the remains still 
exist, near the farm-steading of Cramalt. A more remarkable 
relic of ancient times, consists of an ill-defined road along the 
tops of the hills, which, traceable from near Drummelzier, and 
skirting Manor parish, is lost in the descent of Craigier Burn in 
Megget. There is seemingly a continuation of the same track 
on the hill called the Merecleugh-head, at the outlet of Megget- 
dale, whence it can be traced southwards to Ettrick. It is 
generally known as the Thief's Road, in consequence of having 
been used by Border depredators ; and it is also called the 
King's Road, from, as is alleged by tradition, having been the 
thoroughfare by which James V. and his armed retinue arrived 
in Megget, in June 1529, to execute justice on Cockburn of 
Henderland. There can be no doubt that it is an exceedingly 
ancient thoroughfare. An old song bears an allusion to the 
passage of a Scottish king northwards by this track : 

1 The king rade round the Merecleugh-head, 

Booted and spurred, as we a' did see, 
Syne lighted doun at Mossfennan yett, 
And dined wi' a lass at the Logan Lee. ' 

The lofty range of hills which forms the western boundary of 
Manor parish is continued towards Megget, and at the junction 
of this district with the parishes of Drummelzier and Tweeds- 
muir, is Broad Law, which, rising to a height of 2754 feet, is the 
highest ground in the county. From its summit, in a favourable 
state of the atmosphere, is a most extensive prospect across the 
country. In continuation of the range southwards, there are 
other two high hills, Cairn Law, 2352 feet, and Lochcraig Head, 
2625 feet The high-lying ground in this quarter brown, 
heathy, and pastoral bordering on Tweedsmuir, is perhaps the 
wildest in the soilth of Scotland, and, generally speaking, is 
visited only by shepherds and sportsmen. 

Henderland, now only a farm-steading, was anciently the 
residence of the Cockburns, chiefs of the name, who had gifts of 
lands here from Robert III. in 1383 ; and the execution of Piers 



Cockburn did not lead to forfeiture, if we may judge from the 
fact, that there were Cockburns in Henderland subsequent to the 
reign of James V. The desolation of Piers's widow after the 
execution is painfully portrayed in the ballad : 

' I sew'd his sheet, making my mane ; 
I watch'd his corpse, myself alane ; 
I watch'd the body night and day ; 
No living creature came that way. 
I took his body on my back, 
And whiles I gaed, and whiles I sat ; 
I digg'd a grave, and laid him in, 
And happ'd him wi' the sod sae green.' 

Piers was buried in a spot called the Chapel Knowe, which was 
planted and enclosed a few years ago by the late Mr Murray 
of Henderland. A stile in the wall gives access 
to the tomb. Over the grave is a slab, on which 
is carved the figure of a sword of justice and some 
other emblems, with the inscription : ' fort Igfe Jrg2 
of Cofefcurne airtf Dp* CKpfe martorj?.' We give a 
representation of the tombstone. 

About a mile below Henderland, the Megget joins 
St Mary's Loch, along which solitary sheet of water 
the county of Peebles extends nearly a mile and a 
half. This lake, the fountain of the Yarrow, had 
originally been much longer, but by the deposition of 
debris from two opposite mountain-torrents, it has 

Fig. 66. 

been divided into two lochs, with a connecting rivulet. The 
upper division is known as the Loch of the Lowes. On a sweet 
peninsula between the two, is the small house of entertainment, 
already noticed as being a favourite resort of anglers and 
sportsmen. St Mary's Cottage is about equidistant (sixteen 
miles) from Innerleithen, Selkirk, and Moffat. The post-town 
is Selkirk. On the road to Moffat, tourists will have occasion 
to pass the Gray Mare's Tail. This is a picturesque cataract 
forming the outlet of Loch Skene, a dark and lonesome lake 
situated amidst lofty hills, within the borders of Dumfriesshire. 


DRUMMELZIER is a parish of considerable extent, situated 
west from Manor, and lying chiefly on the east bank of 
the Tweed ; a portion west of that river being the strath 
and lands of Kingledoors. 1 At one time, the parish compre- 
hended Tweedsmuir, which was disjoined from it in 1643. 
Thus reduced in dimensions, it was augmented by incorporating 
Dawick, which was suppressed in 1 742. Bordering on the Tweed, 
opposite Stobo and Glenholm, the parish is noted for an extensive 
alluvial plain, called the Plain of Drummelzier, which, about 
two miles in length, is said to be the largest level space on the 
river above Kelso. Excepting this fine arable plain, and a few 
other spots in the lower grounds, the parish is a pastoral region, 
embracing those huge brown hills which, after rising to a great 
height, slope in an opposite direction towards Manor and 

Reaching this parish, we are in the ancient territory of the 
Tweedies and their unfortunate victims, the Veitches. In the 
present day, all is tranquil the land divided into farms, the scene 
of peaceful industry, or laid out in woods and pleasure-grounds, 

1 Superficies, 18,029.449 acres. Onl. Sur. In 1861, the population was 209. 
Valued rental in 1863, $477, i8j. lid. The name of the parish, which is pro- 
nounced Drmnellyer, is supposed to mean the 'dwelling on the ridge.' 



with no other centre of population than the decayed village 
of Drummelzier, overhanging the banks of the Powsail. 
Having all this before us, we do not easily realise the fact, that 
we are amidst the domains of a set of feudal chiefs who gave 
concern to kings and governments for centuries. Before treating 
of these distinguished individuals, let us call attention to that 
prettiest of streamlets, the Powsail, locally called Drummelzier 
Burn, which comes tumbling down from the heights of Scrape 
and Glenstivon, continually knocking itself against boulders, 
hurrying beneath rocks and bushes, and pushing assiduously 

Fig. 67. Junction of Powsail and Tweed. 

on its way to the Tweed, into which, after passing the village 
and church, it drops very composedly, as any one may judge 
from our little sketch depicting the termination of its turbulent 

According to tradition, the British bard and prophet, Merlin 
the Wild, who was held in esteem by the Britons of Strathclyde, 
died and was buried somewhere near the confluence of the 
Powsail and Tweed. Till this day, some affect to point out this 


grave, a kind of tumulus situated a short way back from the 
river, and an old mythical rhyming prophecy is quoted for 
public edification on the subject. We may allow Pennecuik to 
explain the circumstances. ' There is one thing remarkable here, 
which is the burn, called Pausayl, runs by the east side of this 
churchyard into Tweed, at the side of which burn, a little below 
the churchyard, the famous prophet Merlin is said to be buried. 
The particular place of his grave, at the foot of a thorn-tree, was 
shewn me, many years ago, by the old and reverend minister of 
the place, Mr Richard Brown ; and here was the old prophecy 
fulfilled, delivered in Scots rhyme to this purpose : 

When Tweed and Pausayl meet at Merlin's grave, 
Scotland and England shall one monarch have ; 

for the same day that our King James the Sixth was crowned 
king of England, the river Tweed, by an extraordinary flood, so 
far overflowed its banks, that it met and joined with Pausayl at 
the said grave, which was never before observed to fall out, nor 
since that time.' Likely enough, Merlin was buried here; but as 
regards the prophecy, one cannot help remarking, that, to all 
appearance, but for raised earthen dykes, the Tweed would 
every winter overflow the haughs considerably above the con- 
fluence of the Powsail, and keep the grave of the prophet in an 
unpleasantly moist condition. With any scepticism on this point, 
however, tourists in search of what is pleasing in landscape, and 
invested with a dash of romance, will have no cause to regret 
making a pilgrimage to ' Merlin's grave.' 

No parish in Peeblesshire abounds in more curious family 
history than that of Drummelzier, and we regret that our limited 
space enables us only to glance at the leading particulars, 
beginning at Dawick in the north, and going southwards. 

The lands of Dawick belonged, in early times, to the Veitches, a Norman- 
French family, as their name in its original form of Vache, or le Vache, 
imports. We hear of them as early as the reign of Alexander II., and 
in 1296, William le Vache signs the Ragman Roll. From this time, 
they appear in various charters, the name gradually changing from Vache 


to Vaitch, and finally Veitch. 1 In the early part of the fifteenth century, 
they are seen to be in possession of Dawick, and were a leading family 
in the county. A hundred years later, they took the side of royalty. 
David Veitch, brother of Sir John Veitch of Dawick, joined Montrose, 
and with him suffered defeat at Philiphaugh. So says the ballad of The 
Gallant Grahams : 

' And Newton, Gordon, burd alane, 

And Dalgatie both stout and keen, 
And gallant Veitch upon the field, 

A brawer face was never seen. ' 

Sir John Veitch acted as a commissioner from Peeblesshire to the 
Convention of Estates in 1643, and he appears to have sat in several 
subsequent parliaments. Considering the honourable character of the 
family, we are at a loss to understand the cause of feud between them 
and the Tweedies, unless on the supposition that the latter could endure 
no rivals in the neighbourhood. To do the Veitches justice, they are 
generally observed to be on the defensive, and must have suffered 
greatly from the lairds of Drummelzier. After centuries of distinction, 
the family began to decline about 1696, and the lands were sold in 
consequence of debts contracted in the public service, and for which 
they were never indemnified. The last laird, John Veitch of Dawick, 
was appointed to the office of precentor of signatures in the Court of 
Exchequer, in which he was succeeded by his son, who was alive in 
1722. After this, the Veitches merged into the general population; their 
name, as in sundry other cases of land proprietors in the county, 
surviving till our own times among the burgesses of Peebles. 

The Veitches of Dawick were succeeded by the Naesmyths, who are 

1 The mythic legend of the Veitches explanatory of their name must not be omitted. 
'The original of our name,' says Robert Veitch of Campflat, 'was Gailard, a native of 
France, who came over to Scotland in the reign of Robert Bruce. He became a 
favourite of that king, from being an alert hunter. Happening to distinguish himself 
at a time when Robert was pent up in an encampment near Warkworth Castle, and 
his army in great want of provisions, Gailard bravely ventured his life, by driving a 
herd of cattle in the night ; by which means Robert's men so much revived that 
they made so vigorous a sally as next day secured them a safe retreat Robert soon 
after coming to Peebles, where he had a hunting-seat (the vestiges of which are now 
to be seen adjoining the church of Peebles), it was then he thought proper to reward 
Gailard for his bravery, by giving him the lands of Dawick upon the Tweed, and for 
his coat of arms three cows' heads, with the motto, Famam Extendimus Factis [We 
extend our fame by our deeds], at the same time he took the surname of Vache, by 
reason of its corresponding with the crest. It came to be differently spelled aftei 
wards, through ignorance.' Papers of Veitch of Campflat. The originator of this 
story does not appear to have been aware that ' William le Vache ' of the county 
of Peebles, figures in the Ragman Roll, considerably before the date of the alleged 
exploit at Warkworth. 

2 A 


now in possession. 1 The family of Naesmyth, through intermarriage 
with the Bairds, is an old, but not the oldest, family in the county. 

The first of the name in Peeblesshire was Sir Michael Naesmyth, 
chamberlain to the Archbishop of St Andrews, who in 1544 married 
Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Baird of Posso. The 
Bairds do not appear in the Ragman Roll, but come into notice about 
a century later. Between 1390 and 1406, Robert III. granted to 
Thomas Baird ' the lands of Possaw, Lang-hall, and Kirkhope of Caver- 
hill, the half of Glack, and Glenrath, in the parish of Manor.' 2 From 
their possession of Posso Craig, the Naesmyths are said to have become 
falconers to Queen Mary and her son, James VI. James Naesmyth, 
as sheriff-depute of the county, superintended the Weapon Show of 
1627. According to the ordinary genealogy of the family, the James 
Naesmyth last mentioned was succeeded by his eldest son, James, who 
was bred a lawyer, and is traditionally remembered as the ' Deil o' 
Dawick.' We are unable to reconcile this account with certain entries 
in the Records of the Privy Council, from which it is seen that there 
was a Sir Michael Naesmyth of Posso, in 1665-68, who, being in 
necessitous circumstances, illegally made use of some property which 
had been settled on his wife by her first husband. We give the following 
as specimens : 

1665, July 6. Complaint of dame Janet Bruce, wife of Sir Michael 
Naesmyth of Posso, that he had made away with her life-rent. He is 
ordered to give her for present subsistence, ' the soum of one thousand 
merks Scots.' P. C. R. 

1666, Jan. ii. Sir Michael Naesmyth, on his petition, gets protec- 
tion against caption for debts, in order that he may appear before the 
council. P. C. ft. 

1668, Feb. Sir Michael Naesmyth again gets protection; the case 
of himself and spouse being still pending in the council. P. C. ft. 

Whatever was the paternity of the ' Deil/ it is indisputable 

1 Like the Veitches, the Naesmyths are not unprovided with a myth. ' The family 
tradition accounts for the origin and spelling of the name by the following romantic 
incident : In the reign of Alexander III., the ancestor of the family, being in attendance 
on the king, was, on the eve of a battle, required by him to repair his armour. 
Although a man of great stature and power, he was unsuccessful. After the battle, 
having performed prodigies of valour, he was knighted by the king, with the remark 
that, " although he was nae Smith, he was a brave gentleman." The armorial bearings 
of the family have reference to this origin of the name, viz., a drawn sword between 
two war-hammers or " martels " broken, with the motto, Non arte sed marte in old 
Scotch, " Not by knaverie but by braverie " (arte and knavery meaning skill, not 
cunning). Naesmyth of Posso is the head of this ancient family, being descended from 
the stalwart knight of the legend. 1 ANDERSON'S Scottish Nation. 

3 Robertson's Index to the Charters, 


that he was the maker of the Naesmyths, who, but for him, 
could never have mustered funds to buy out the Veitches. By 
means of his professional gains, the family of Naesmyth was 
transferred from the dull recesses of Posso, to the bright glades 
of Dawick, where there was immense scope both in hill and 
valley to spend a fortune on improvements. On this pleasant 
spot, the ' Deil ' carried on his operations, until his death in 1 706, 
leaving still much to be done. He was succeeded by his eldest 
son, Janies, who added to the family distinction, by getting 
himself made a baronet of Nova Scotia. 

While Dawick was in possession of the first baronet, who, like 
his father, was bred a lawyer, it was described as follows by 
Pennecuik : * It is now (1715) in the hands of Sir James 
Nasmyth of Posso, an eminent lawyer, who has rebuilt the house 
and garden, and added some more ornamental planting for the 
beauty of the place. Here, in an old orchard, did the herons in 
my time build their nests upon some large pear-trees, whereupon, 
in the harvest-time, are to be seen much fruit growing, and trouts 
and eels crawling down the body of these trees. These fish the 
herons take out of the river Tweed to their nests ; and this is 
the remarkable riddle that they talk so much of to have flesh, 
fish, and fruit at the same time upon one tree.' 

Such marvels, we believe, are not now to be observed at 
Dawick ; but as each successive proprietor has, by planting and 
otherwise, added to the amenity of the place, it is in a high 
condition of improvement. Dawick is particularly noted for its 
fine wood horse-chestnuts, oaks, and sycamores, also larches, 
which were introduced here in 1725, and are now of immense 
size. Independently of enjoying the general beauty of the spot, 
visitors may have an opportunity of seeing, at the proper 
season, the finest show of rhododendrons in the county. The 
old house being removed, there has been erected in its stead 
a handsome mansion of a picturesque order of architecture, 
which contains a great variety of heirlooms, connected with 
the history of the family, including numerous portraits and 
other memorials significant of the attachment of the Naesmyths 



to the cause of the Stewarts. The present proprietor is Sir John 
Murray Naesmyth, Bart., of Posso, who lives chiefly abroad ; 
valued rental of the estate in the parishes of Drummelzier, Stobo, 
Manor, and Glenholm, in 1863, 2569, 5^. nd. For some time, 
Dawick was called New Posso, a piece of tastelessness now 

Fig. 68. Dawick House. 

generally abandoned. Lately, a bridge was erected across the 
Tweed, nearly opposite the entrance to Dawick, by which means, 
and the adjacent railway station at Stobo, the place may be 
easily reached. Within the grounds, on a prominent knoll, 
stands the old church of Dawick, now fittingly preserved as a 
family mausoleum. 

Southward from Dawick is the level plain already spoken of, 
constituting the fine farm of Drummelzier Haugh, which, along 
with some other lands, forms the modern estate of Drummelzier. 
Embraced in it are the ruins of the castle of Tinnies (a name 
believed to be a corruption of Thanes), now consisting of only 
a few broken but durable fragments of wall. Placed on the 
top of a lofty pyramidal mount projected from the range of 



hills, and commanding a wide outlook northwards over the lower 
grounds, the castle of Tinnies must have been a place of greater 
strength than any of the ordinary feudal keeps in Peeblesshire. 
It is reached by a zigzag pathway up the steep bank, which in 
the present day is reduced to the nature of a sheep-walk. 

Fig. 69. Ruins of Tinnies Castle. 

A short way beyond Tinnies, and occupying a low rocky knoll 
close upon the Tweed, are the ruins of Drummelzier Castle, as 
pictured by us at page 95. Though shattered and much gone 
on the western side, the building is sufficiently entire to shew 
its original height and character. It does not appear to be 
of an old date, probably not earlier than the beginning of the 
sixteenth century, when feudal towers were beginning to possess 
some of the features of modern dwellings. Where the head of 
the clan, Tweedie, resided previously, must be matter of conjec- 
ture perhaps in an earlier edifice on the spot, or at Tinnies. 
Although the building is comparatively modern, it has the 
qualities of defence. By an inlet from the Tweed, it could be 
surrounded with water, while below each of its windows there 


is a shot-hole adapted for the projection of a musket ; and to 
judge from the Records of the Privy Council, these several 
means of defence were sufficient to keep off any ordinary body 
of assailants. Whether upon the fall of the Tweedies, it was 
suffered to drop into disrepair, must remain doubtful. Con- 
sidering that it became the property of the Yester family, who 
suffered the bombardment of Neidpath, it is not unlikely that it 
was exposed to similar injuries from the troops of the Common- 
wealth such a theory would at least agree with the fact, that its 
shattered side is towards the hill of Rachan, on the opposite 
bank of the river, whence it could be securely attacked with 
shot On falling to ruin, it became a convenient quarry of 
building-stones for the farm-steading, called Drummelzier Place, 
amidst which it rears its spectral form, prominently surmounting 
the tops of the trees that environ its picturesque site. Histor- 
ically, Drummelzier Castle possesses an interest equal to that of 
any ruin in the county, and one could accordingly wish that 
some attempt were made by the proprietor to have it cleared 
out, and secured from further dilapidation. 

The Tweedies were an exceedingly old clan in this part of 
Peeblesshire. 1 Tweedie of Drummelzier was considered their 
chief, and as seen in previous notices, he could, in defying the 
law or carrying out any scheme of vengeance, confidently rely 
on assistance from the Tweedies of Dreva, Wrae, Dunsyre, 
Broughton, Scotstoun, and other places ; also on a number of 
lairds connected with his family by marriage. The Geddeses of 
Rachan, and Veitches of Dawick, were considered to be hereditary 
enemies of the clan, and against them and their allies a feud 
was inveterately kept up till the last. The abrupt sinking into 
obscurity of the Tweedies, is one of the more remarkable social 
phenomena of the county. As men of any mark, all disappeared 
about the reign of Charles I. the race seeming to die out in 

1 According to a favourite mythic story, the first of the Tweedies was the child of a 
species of water-spirit or genius of the Tweed, and hence the name. Records shew 
that the earlier members of the family were designated from their lands on the Tweed ; 
as, for example, 'John ofTuedie.' 


the manner that certain kinds of animals vanish by drainage. 
Their principal place of sepulture, we are informed, was a vault 
in the old church of Drummelzier, where was carved their coat 
of arms, bearing a fierce black bull's head, with the motto, 
' THOL AND THINK ' an admonition singularly at variance 
with the impetuosity of their character. The misfortunes of the 
chieftain were certainly calculated to produce reflection. James 
Tweedie, the last of the name in Drummelzier, was, in 1618, 
dismissed from the Tolbooth of Edinburgh a ruined man, and, 
as previously stated, his lands passed by mortgage and debts 
of various sorts into the possession of his creditor and kinsman, 
John, Lord Hay of Yester, who became first Earl of Tweeddale. 
To his second son, Hon. William Hay, he assigned Drummelzier, 
from whom it passed by inheritance to the Hays of Dunse 
Castle, with whom it remained till disposed of in 1831. It was 
purchased for ^25,cxx> by Sir James Montgomery, Baronet, but 
having rued the bargain, he relinquished it at the same price in 
favour of Andrew White, before the transfer was completed. 
The property, besides some superiorities, consisted of 4747 acres, 
and the aggregate rental of the farms into which it was divided 
was 762, 3J. 6^d, In 1863, the valued rental had increased to 
1309, 2s. lid. Mr Andrew White, who made this favourable 
purchase, was son of John White of Howburn, a small property 
near Elsridgehill, in Lanarkshire, and had pursued a successful 
career as a merchant in Glasgow. He died in 1841, and was 
succeeded by his son, John White of Drummelzier, who, by 
purchase in 1834, had become proprietor of Netherurd. 1 (See 

The estate immediately to the south of Drummelzier, and, like 
it, fronting the Tweed, is that of Stanhope, formerly belonging to 
the Murrays, a branch of the Murrays of Romanno, under which 
head (parish of NEWLANDS) their lineage is traced to the 
Murrays of Philiphaugh. William Murray, third or youngest of 
Romanno, who, with his father and grandfather, was implicated 

1 Drummelzier Papers. 



in the murder of Hamilton of Coldcoat, in 1591 (see page 115), 
had a son David, who, though in due time inheriting Romanno, 
relinquished that property to other members of the family, 
and afterwards settled down in this part of the county. Charles I. 
conferred on him the honour of knighthood, about which time 
he acquired the lands of Stanhope, and in 1635 had a charter of 
the barony of Broughton. He was succeeded by his son, William, 
an ardent loyalist, who in 1654 was fined 2000 by Oliver 
Cromwell. Surviving the Restoration, he was created a baronet 
by Charles II., in 1664. He was succeeded by his elder son, Sir 
David, as second baronet, and he by his son, Sir Alexander, who 
married Grizel, daughter of George Baillie of Jerviswoode. Sir 
Alexander dying without issue, was succeeded by his nephew, 
Sir David. Here ends the territorial distinction of the family. 
Sir David Murray, the fourth baronet, having engaged in the 
rebellion of 1745, was taken prisoner, tried, and sentenced to 
death at York in 1748 ; but, as a mark of royal clemency, was 
(along with some others) discharged on condition of banishing 
himself for life. He died abroad, leaving a family of whom there 
are probably still representatives. Stanhope and other family 
possessions were sold by authority of the Court of Session on 
the loth of August 1767. The Strontian property in Argyle- 
shire brought 33,700, and the estates in Peeblesshire 40, 500.' 
The purchaser of this last-mentioned portion was James Mont- 
gomery, advocate, whose grandson, Sir G. G. Montgomery, 
Baronet, is now proprietor. (See STOBO.) There is no mansion 
on the Drummelzier section of the estate, which consists chiefly 
of the farm of Easter and Wester Stanhope. 

On the opposite side of the Tweed from Stanhope is the 
strath of Kingledoors, the upper part of which was noted in 
ancient times for a chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert ; but this 
edifice has long since disappeared. In the present day the strath 
consists of a farm belonging to James Tweedie of Quarter ; 
valued rent in 1863, 650. 

1 Play fair's British Family Antiquity, p. 332. 



Beyond Stanhope, in proceeding up the valley, is the ancient 
property of Polmood, or, as it was commonly called, Powmuid. 
In the present day, it is known as Patervan, that being the 
name of the farm of which it now consists. In a field, the second 
north from the steading of Patervan, and within about fifty yards 
of the Tweed, are seen four lonely trees, which are said to mark 
the site of a hamlet now entirely gone, called Lincumdoddie. 
What kind of a place it was, no one can now tell ; but its name 

Fig. 70. Site of Lincumdoddie. 

is likely to be preserved through all time in one of the humorous 
songs of Burns, commencing 

' Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed, 

The spot they ca'd it Linkum-doddie ; 
Willie was a wabster guid, 

Could stown a clew wi' ony bodie.' 

The changes effected by time have swept away other seats of 
population, in this upper part of Tweeddale, besides Lincum- 
doddie. A short way onward, on a slip of green-sward which 
the plough has kindly spared, stand the desolated ruins of 
Polmood, a residence of the Hunters from time immemorial until 
their disappearance last century. The traveller towards the 
Crook, on the opposite side of the river, has, in passing, a full 
view of the old walls, of which we give a sketch in fig. 71. 



There is something in the way of romance to be told respecting 
the property. The Hunters of Polmood claimed an extreme 
antiquity. According to a legend, which we are sorry to say is 
of no authority, Norman Hunter had a grant of lands by charter 
from Malcolm Canmore, the first year of his reign (1057). 

Fig. 71. Polmood in ruins. 

Pennecuik gives an alleged copy of this rhyming charter, which 
has no existence either as an original document or in record ; 
nor could it possibly have, because the language in which it is 
written was not in use in Scotland at the period. We repeat it 
as a curiosity : 

'I, Malcolm Canmore, king, the first of my Reign, gives to thee, 
NORMAN HUNTER of Powmood, the HOPE up and down, above the 
Earth to Heaven, and below the Earth to Hell, as free to thee and 
thine as ever God gave it to me and mine, and that for a Bow and a 
Broad Arrow, when I come to hunt in Yarrow ; and for the mair suith, 
I byte the white Wax with my Tooth, before thir witnesses three May, 
Mauld, and Marjorie.' 

This charter can be considered to be only a mythical invention, 



though it is reasonable to assume that the property was bestowed 
on the Hunters at a considerably remote period ; there being, 
it is said, some evidence that the lands were granted by 
William the Lion (1166-1214) to a person named Hunter. 
A degree of interest of another kind attaches to Polmood. It 
was the subject of one of the longest and most fiercely-contested 
litigations in our judicial annals, and a few words explanatory 
of this extraordinary case may be acceptable. 

Robert Hunter, proprietor of Polmood, died in 1689 without 
legitimate issue, but leaving a natural son, George, to whom he 
had disponed his lands, and who obtained letters of legitimation. 
In regular descent from this George, whose right was not 
challenged, there was a delicate youth, Thomas Hunter, the sole 
survivor of his line, who, about 1764, went to reside in Edin- 
burgh, in the house of Alexander Hunter, 
a merchant, who, though of the same name, 
stood in no relationship to the family. As 
the event proved, Alexander Hunter was a 
person of more than usual craftiness. He 
had the address to get himself appointed 
tutor or curator of the boy, Hunter, his 
guest, and with this advantage over him, 
persuaded the poor sickly lad to execute a 
deed of entail of his property in favour of 
himself and his heirs. The deed was dated 
28th January 1765, and Thomas, its granter, 
remaining ill, died on the 2Oth March 
following. As, according to the law of 
Scotland, dispositions of heritable property 
executed on death-bed are of no avail, the 
deed was clearly reducible, had any proper heir interfered ; but 
there was no one immediately at hand to do so. Alexander 
Hunter, by means of the bequest and otherwise, became a rich 
man, one of the notabilities of Edinburgh, commemorated by the 
pencil of Kay, a copy of whose sketch is presented. 

This demure and cunning old man, Alexander Hunter, died 

Fig. 72. 
Hunter of Polmood. 


22d February 1786, and was succeeded by his nephew, Walter, 
whose eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was married, in 1792, to 
Lord Forbes, and at her death, 1830, left a large family 
of children. Before her ladyship had come into possession of 
Polmood, a claimant as heir-at-law had appeared upon the 
scene. This was Adam Hunter, a poor and illiterate man, 
bred a shepherd in Tweeddale, and who describes himself as 
* lately tenant in Alterstane.' Having procured some sympathy 
and assistance from friends, he set about tracing his pedigree 
to Michael Hunter, father of Robert Hunter, who died in 
1689. Furnished with several proofs in his favour, he began 
in 1780 to wage a war of litigation against Alexander Hunter, 
the usurper of the estate. Unfortunately, through defective 
hearsay information, his case twice broke down, and while 
renewing the struggle on more secure grounds, a new claimant 
of Polmood appeared in the person of Robert Taylor, tenant 
in Castle-Sanquar. Taylor tried to make out that he was 
descended from a certain Isobel Hunter, the nearest relation ; 
but in this, after a long course of litigation, he failed, and Adam 
solely remained to do battle with Lady Forbes. 

The history of this extraordinary litigation forms a quarto 
volume, abounding in curious matters of parole evidence from 
aged country-people in the western part of Peeblesshire. Some 
of the events referred to extend as far back as the holding of 
field-conventicles ; and one aged character, nicknamed ' Old 
Shank,' is described as having been baptized by a hunted 
Cameronian preacher amidst the wilds of Tweedsmuir. Reminis- 
cences concerning a wonderfully clever dog are also put forward 
as links in the line of propinquity. ' The deponent has heard 
his father say that Robert Hunter had a remarkable dog called 
Algiers ; and that when Robert lived at Woodend, he used to 
tie a napkin round the dog's neck with money in it, and send 
him for snuff to Lammington, which is about three miles from 
Woodend ; and that the dog executed his message faithfully, 
and prevented everybody from laying hold of or stopping him.' 
Another venerable deponent, aged eighty-nine, had heard his 


mother tell ' many stories about a dog belonging to Uncle 
Robert, which went by the name of Algiers ; that they used to 
cut a fleece off him every year sufficient to make a pair of 
stockings ; and that Uncle Robert used to tie a purse round his 
neck, with money in it, and the dog then swam the Tweed, and 
brought back tobacco from the Crook.' And a third declares 
that 'Algiers could be sent to Edinburgh with a letter, and bring 
back an answer to his master.' Uncle Robert, the proprietor 
of this wonderful animal, appears to have been a serviceable 
personage in the family. He usually lived at Chapel-K ingle- 
doors, where he was known as uncle to Margaret Tweedie, ' the 
Guidwife of Hearthstane ' (a neighbouring property). Polmood 
was only a place of occasional residence, and there he occupied 
' a plenished room ' whenever he pleased. Happening to be 
there when the rebel forces passed up Tweed in 1745, he locked 
up his nephew, the laird, and so preventing him from joining 
them, saved the property. When Uncle Robert grew old, the 
Guidwife of Hearthstane ' thought it a pity that the family of 
Polmood should be troubled with him,' and accordingly took care 
of him till his demise, when, as a duty, ' the Lady of Polmood 
attended, and helped on with his dead-clothes.' With such old- 
world particulars bearing remotely on the line of evidence, does 
this strange history of a lawsuit abound. 1 

One is grieved to know that, after a heart-breaking litigation 
of forty years, Adam Hunter lost his case ; it being decided by 
the court of last resort that he had failed to produce legally 
satisfactory evidence of being heir-at-law. Polmood, therefore, 
remained a possession in the family of Lord Forbes. Some 
years ago, it was sold for about 7000, to Houston Mitchell, 
its present proprietor ; valued rental in 1863, 270. 

Passing Polmood, we are in the parish of Tweedsmuir, at one 
time called Upper Drummelzier. Occupying the south-western 
corner of the county, Tweedsmuir is a large parish, consisting 
almost wholly of great brown hills, intersected by rivulets 

1 Volume of Papers connected with the Polmood case, in possession of James 
Maidmcnt, Esq., advocate, Edinburgh. 



pouring down to the Tweed, along which, for a short distance, 
there is alone any arable grounds. 1 Its great extent, pastoral 
character, and meagre population, occupying only forty-nine 
dwellings, remind us of an Australian sheep-run ; and the resem- 
blance to some such distant settlement is rendered the more 
complete, in consequence of this upper section of Tweeddale 
being no longer a great thoroughfare between Edinburgh and 
Dumfriesshire, as was the case previous to railway communica- 
tion. The turnpike-road is now grass-grown, and the once 
well-known posting-house, the Crook, is reduced to the condition 
of a roadside inn. The Bield, another of the hostels of a past 
age, situated further up the valley, has from similar causes been 
transformed into a private dwelling and lodging-house. 

Adjoining the Bield, on a rocky shoulder of the hill, with an 
outlook eastwards over the valley, are the ruins of Oliver 
Castle, of which only a few fragments survive such being 
usually described as a castle that had pertained to Simon Eraser 
v of Neidpath, at the end of the 

thirteenth century. Adjacent 
is the house of the proprietor, 
George Tweedie Stoddart of 
Oliver, who through his mother 
traces his descent over a period 
of three hundred years from a 
line of Tweedies of Oliver. On 
the opposite side of the valley 
of the Tweed, is the church of 
Tweedsmuir, situated on an 
alluvial knoll, with the manse 
and a few cottages in its neigh- 

Crossing the river by a bridge 
at this spot, and turning along 
the moor to the right, we, within a 
mile, and in a marshy spot, arrive at the largest of the standing- 

1 Superficies, 32,612.704 acres. Ord. Sur. In 1861, the population was 196. 

Fig- 73- 
Standing-stone, Tweedsmuir. 


stones of Peeblesshire. It is about five feet high, unshapely, and 
without inscription or carving. At a short distance, lying apart, 
are other two stones of considerably lesser size. There have 
been numerous speculations respecting these boulders stuck in 
the moss : they are a Druidic temple, an oratory, a monument ; 
and the larger of the three is the subject of a mythical legend 
about a giant who was killed by an arrow from behind it, and 
is thought (says the minister of the parish, in his Statistical 
Account, 1834) 'to have given rise to the well-known story of 
Jack the Giant-killer.' (!) 

Besides Oliver Castle, there are the remains of several border- 
towers or ancient hunting-seats, including those of Fruid and 
Hawkshaw. The place last named, situated on a burn amidst 
a wild district on the east side of the infant Tweed, was in early 
times the property of the family of Porteous, members of which 
frequently come into notice in old records. One of the later 
proprietors was William Govan, from whom, in 1819, it passed to 
his nephew, Adam Stewart, who sold it to Graham Bell, advocate, 
for (as is said) 9000. Including Badlieu, Tweedhopefoot', 
and Glencraigie, its present rental is >iioo. The other pro- 
prietors and their rentals are Earl of Wemyss (Hearthstane, 
Talla, &c.); ^"2412, I2s. ; SirG. G. Montgomery, Bart. (Minzion), 
1274, Ss. 6d. ; Anthony Nichol (Glenbreck and Riggs), 290 ; 
Benjamin T. G. Anderson (Carterhope), 260 ; Thomas Welsh 
(Tweedshaws and Earlshaugh), 254, ^s. ^d. ; William Scott 
(Fingland), 200 ; George Tweedie Stoddart (Oliver and Bield), 
145. Lesser properties, 55, i6s. 8d. 

The charm of Tweedsmuir, if there be a charm about it, 
consists of its singularly wild burns Core, Fruid, Talla, Minzion, 
and others ; the Talla, with its dashing linns, being perhaps the 
most picturesque of all, and doubly interesting from having a 
tributary, Gameshope Burn, which issues from a high-lying and 
lonely sheet of water, called Gameshope Loch, abounding in 
dark-coloured trout, well known to anglers. The Tweed arises 
within the parish, at a height, as formerly stated, of about 1784 
feet above the level of the sea. 


STOBO parish is situated partly on the right, but principally 
on the left, bank of the Tweed, extending from the Lyne 
on the north to Holm's Water on the south. 1 Anciently, it 
embraced the whole of the upper section of the Tweed, and 
possessed a peculiar civil and ecclesiastical status. It formed a 
manor of the Bishop of Glasgow, and as such, was connected 
with the regality of that see. The cure was a vicarage of the 
same episcopate, held by a prebend of Glasgow, and subordinate 
to it were the chapelries or pendicles of Lyne, Dawick, Drum- 
melzier, Tweedsmuir, Broughton, and perhaps also Glenholm 
and Kingledoors. George Chalmers sarcastically remarks, that 
' the rights to the manor of Stobo have been as fiercely contested 
as the sovereignty of Scotland.' 2 Disputes on this subject were 
followed, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, by the 
famous contest respecting the 'Marches of Stobo,' or boundaries 
of its ecclesiastical polity. The matter being referred to an 
inquest of 'neighbours,' they gave a decision which was confirmed 
by Alexander II. in 1223. The only interest now entertained 
respecting the case is in the list of the persons concerned, 
which, being preserved in the Registers of the Archbishopric of 

1 Superficies, 10,373.715 acres. Ord. Sur. In 1861, population 478. Valued 
rental in 1863, .4206, or. "id. 
3 Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 954. 



Glasgow, gives us the names of the ' neighbours,' all presumedly 
individuals of some local note about the year 1206. We copy a 
list of them below. 1 

Stobo subsided into a parish of comparatively limited dimen- 
sions after the Reformation, but was slightly increased by incor- 
porating a part of the suppressed parish of Dawick in 1642. 
The name has been written in many different ways as Stoboc, 
Stobhow, and Stubbehok, all signifying ' the hollow of stobs or 
stumps,' from which we may understand that the district was 
anciently covered with wood. 

Besides several British hill-forts, recorded in our list, the parish 
possesses some objects of antiquarian interest. Among these, a 
prominent place may be assigned to the two Standing-stones on 
Sheriff Muir, pictured at page 23. They are unshapely boulders, 
without carving or inscription, but have seemingly been set up in 
very remote times, for a special object, probably commemorative 
of some event of importance. The plain on which they are 
erected forms a kind of peninsula between the Tweed and the 
Lyne, and as suitable for martial array was at one time 
employed as a place of military convocation by the sheriffs of 
the county ; and hence its name. In the section of the parish 
south of the Tweed, near Easter Dawick, there is pointed out on 
a rising ground the site of a feudal keep called the Lour. The 
spot, to all appearance, was occupied by a British fort long before 
it was appropriated for a border-tower, and the vestiges of the 

1 Sir Adam the son of Gilbert ; Sir Milo Corneht ; Sir Adam the son of Edolf ; 
John Ker the hunter at Swhynhope ; Gillemihhel Ques-Chutbrit at Trefquer ; Patrick 
of Hopekeliou ; Mihhyn Brunberd at Corrukes ; Mihhyn the son of Edred at Stobbo ; 
Cristin the hermit of Kyngeldores ; Cos-Patric the hermit of Kylbeuhoc ; Padin the 
son of Kercau at Corrukes ; Gillemor the son of Kercau at Corrokes ; Cristin Gennan 
the serjeant (seruiens) at Trefquer ; Gylcolm the smith at Pebles ; Gylmihhel the son 
of Bridoc at Kyngeldures ; Gylis the son of Buht at Dunmedler ; Gillecrist the son of 
Daniel at Glenwhym ; Matthew, James, and John, the sons of Cos-Mungho the priest 
at Edoluestone ; Cos-Patric Romefare ; Randulf of Meggete ; Adam of Seles the 
clerk ; Gillecryst the son of Huttyng at Currokes ; Gilbert the parson of Kylbeuhhoc ; 
Gylmor Hund at Dauwic ; Mihhyn the steward of Dauwic ; Dudyn of Brouhtune ; 
Patric the son of Caswale at Stobbo ; Adam and Cosouold the sons of Muryn at 
Oliver Castle. ' For further particulars concerning the ancient character and condition 
of Stobo, we must refer to the Origina Parochiala Scotia, voL L p. 196. 

2 B 


ancient circumvallation are still traceable. The Lour is on the 
old thoroughfare which here crossed the heights from Glack, in 
Manor parish. At the top of the ascent, there is a spot called 
the ' Dead Wife's Grave,' where, according to tradition, an 
Irishwoman, sharing the fate of her husband, was mercilessly 
slaughtered by the country-people the unfortunate pair having 
not improbably been fugitives from the disastrous field of 

On the north bank of the Tweed, about three miles from 
Sheriff Muir, is the small village of Stobo, adjoining which, on a 

Fig. 74. Church of Stobo. 

slightly elevated ground amidst trees, stands the parish church, 
an old building of more than ordinary interest. As will be 
observed from our sketch, it consists of three parts tower, nave, 
and chancel the work of different periods. From certain 
architectural details, more particularly the rounded arch of the 
doorway within the porch, the oldest part of the building is 
evidently of the Saxon period, and so far may therefore be 
considered the earliest ecclesiastical structure now existing in 
Tweeddale. The other parts of the edifice are of the Norman 

STOBO. 435 

or later period ; and bearing in remembrance that Stobo was 
intimately associated with the episcopate of Glasgow, we cannot 
be surprised to find that, through the care of successive bishops, 
its church should possess qualities of a high architectural order. 
Like edifices, however, of much superior pretensions, it was 
doomed to suffer from the great religious convulsion of 1560. 
Stripped of its ornaments, everything that bad taste could 
suggest to mar its effect was carried out. The finer mouldings 
were shrouded in plaster, some of the windows and a doorway 
were built up, and the interior fittings were rendered as rude 
and unseemly as was practicable. As a finishing 
characteristic stroke, at the access of religious 
severity in the reign of Charles I., an iron chain 
and collar, with padlock, were attached to the 
exterior of the porch, of which apparatus we offer 
a sketch in the adjoining cut, fig. 75. With little 
improvement, this state of things remained until 
1863, when the whole edifice underwent a com- 
plete and very successful restoration, suitable to 
modern usages, at the cost of Sir G. Graham 
Montgomery, Bart., the principal heritor. 1 Fi fr 75- 

We are told by Armstrong that the parish formerly possessed 
nineteen tenants, who occupied what were called ' the nineteen 
towns of Stobo ; ' but that in his time the number was greatly 

1 From an interesting account of the architectural disclosures made in repairing the 
church, written, we believe, by the present minister of the parish, and published in the 
Edinburgh Courant, October 8, 1863, we gather the following particulars : ' An old 
monumental tomb with a canopy stood in the north wall of the chancel. It bore a 
shield at the top, on which a cross had probably stood out in bold relief ; for the four 
fractured places on the stone shield occur just where the arms of a sculptured cross 
would have adhered. There was no lettering on the tomb, save a neatly carved W on 
every stone of it, beginning with the left or west side (the head of the tomb) and 
following the semicircle of the stilted arch all round until it became inverted at the 
foot thus, M. I* was found necessary to change the position of the tomb to a 
certain extent, and in the process, two quaint old Norman windows were discovered, 
which had been completely built up and hidden, in order to admit the insertion of the 
canopy. The monument was therefore removed to another part of the chancel, and 
the windows have been restored. As much of the arch of one window remained as 
enabled us to see how both windows should be finished. The tomb contained a 
skeleton with its hands crossed over the breast. Five coins were found beside it ; foui 


reduced. The lands are now laid out in the improved style 
common throughout the county, and with much fine wood, there 
is on the lower grounds more than an ordinary degree of amenity. 

The bulk of the parish forms part of the old barony of 
' Stanhope and Stobo/ once the property of the Hurrays, whose 
residence was at Stobo House. Such, says Armstrong, was ' the 
seat of the ingenious Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, who 
enclosed and planted the most improvable part of the estate ; but 
the road called Stobo Hedges has been justly execrated by every 
traveller, whose difficulty in passing for a mile and a half through 
a continued mass of mortared earth, confined by two hedges, 
was truly pitiable. The situation of the house, and the extensive 
improvements made on the policy by the present proprietor 
(1775), are inimitably picturesque.' Long since, the road 
between Stobo Hedges has been made as passable as any in the 
county; and what would Armstrong say now of the pleasure- 
grounds which he saw only in their commencement? Of the 
person he refers to as the ' present proprietor/ we must offer 
some account 

Under the head Drummelzier, we have spoken of the Murrays 
of Stanhope, and the catastrophe which terminated their con- 
nection with Peeblesshire. Sir David Murray being a political 
exile, and his affairs in disorder, the barony of Stanhope and 
Stobo was sold by a decree of the Court of Session in 1767, and 
purchased by James Montgomery for ^40,500 ; the lands 
comprehended in the transaction being situated in the parishes 

being coins of German bishops, and one a Scotch coin. All the German coins bear 
German inscriptions ; the Scotch one, which is hardly legible, seems to be in Latin. 
The largest coin has on one side, " Wolf, Bishop of Nurnberg ; " and on the other, 
" Pfennigmacher in Regha," which may be liberally interpreted, " Master of the mint 
in Rega." The next largest coin has the two inscriptions "John Krauwinkel, Inn." 
(Innstadt?) and " Heit, Rottmorgen Dott" names, perhaps, of places in or near 
Bavaria. The third coin bears, "John, Bishop of Niirnberg," and "God determines 
and overrules all." The fourth coin, like the second, has "John Krauwinkel, Inn.," 
and "The kingdom of God remaineth for ever." All the four have, on one side, the 
cross surmounting a globe or circle, and surrounded by the usual Romish border, and 
on the other side a circle of coronets. The fifth and smallest coin has the Scotch 
thistle on one side and the Lion on the other, with inscriptions which we can only guess 
to be "Jacobus D. G. et Magd'len" and "I. R. M. Sco. Fran." If we are correct, 
the coin was struck in 1537, when James V. married Magdalen of France. 1 



of Drummelzier, Tweedsmuir, and Stobo. The new proprietor 
was the second son of William Montgomery of Macbie Hill. (See 
NEWLANDS.) Bred a lawyer, he, as stated in a previous page, 
became the first sheriff-depute of Peeblesshire, under the new 
arrangement, 1748 ; the salary he enjoyed in this office being 
150 per annum. The rise of James Montgomery from this 
position was so very remarkable, that we must impute it to more 
than a usual amount of talent. He was appointed successively 
solicitor-general and lord advocate, and while in this last-men- 
tioned office in 1768, he was nominated member of parliament 
for the county. Previous to attaining to this position, Mr Mont- 
gomery had become a land proprietor. In 1763, he purchased 
Whim, in the parish of Newlands, 
from John, Duke of Argyle ; 
within four years afterwards, as 
above stated, he bought the fine 
estate of the Murrays of Stan- 
hope, and almost at the same 
time he acquired the lands of 
Nether Falla, in the parish of 
Eddleston a sudden improve- 
ment of fortune ascribable, no 
doubt, to great professional 
success, as well as a judicious 
use of means, but perhaps also in 
some degree to his marriage with 
Margaret, daughter and heiress 
of Robert Scott of Killearn. In 
1775, he was raised to the dignity of Lord Chief Baron of 
Exchequer in Scotland, and it was now he commenced those 
extensive improvements around Stobo House, which are spoken 
approvingly of by Armstrong. In his old age, the Lord Chief 
Baron Montgomery's portrait was painted in the dress in which he 
sat on the bench, and by means of a photograph from this finely 
executed picture in Stobo Castle, we are enabled, in fig. 76, to give 
a slight idea of his appearance. On his retiring from office in 

Fig. 76. 


1 80 1, he was, in acknowledgment of his public services, created a 
baronet of the United Kingdom. Sir James Montgomery did not 
long survive this distinction. He died in 1803, aged eighty-two. 
His eldest son, William, having predeceased him, he was suc- 
ceeded in the estates and title by his second son, Sir James Mont- 
gomery, who had been also bred a lawyer, and was appointed 
lord advocate in 1804, but resigned office in 1806. William 
Montgomery, the elder brother, had become member of parlia- 
ment for the county in 179/3, and remained member till his death 
in 1800, when James succeeded to the appointment, which he 
retained till 1830. In the hands of Sir James Montgomery, 
the second baronet, the estate was expanded and considerably 
improved. In 1801, two years before the death of his father, 
he bought the farm of Easter Happrew for 3720. Afterwards, 
there was some trouble concerning this transaction. The farm 
had formed part of the March estate, and though entailed, was 
sold by the Duke of Queensberry, under some alleged statutory 
authority, to redeem the land-tax. The Earl of Wemyss, as 
heir of entail, challenged the sale of the lands, but it was finally 
confirmed as being valid by the House of Lords. At the time 
of the purchase, the farm (occupied by Charles Alexander) was 
under currency of one of those exceedingly long leases to which 
we formerly alluded. The rent was then 136, iu. 6d. j 1 it is 
now 5 25.* 

In 1805, Sir James began to build Stobo Castle, from plans 
by J. and A. Elliot, architects. The house was finished in 1811, 
and is on a spacious scale, with bold picturesque effect, which is 
greatly aided by its commanding situation on an eminence 
overlooking the Tweed and woody heights of Dawick. The 
pleasure-grounds by which it is environed, more resemble in 
extent and beauty the park-scenery of England than any others 
in the county. At the death of Sir James, 1839, he was succeeded 
by the present baronet, Sir Graham Graham Montgomery, his 
eldest son by his second marriage with a daughter of Thomas 
Graham of Kinross through whom Sir Graham has inherited 
1 House of Lords Papers. * Stobo Papers. 

STOBO. 439 

the Kinross estate, which includes Loch Leven and its interesting 
islands and environs. Sir Graham has been member of parlia- 
ment for Peeblesshire since 1852 ; valued rental of Peeblesshire 
properties, in parishes of Drummelzier, Tweedsmuir, Stobo, 
Newlands, and Eddleston, in 1863, 5539, io/j. 6d. 

Fig- 77- Stobo Castle. 

On the face of the hill, in a westerly direction from Stobo 
Castle, is the Stobo slate-quarry, which has been in operation 
for at least two centuries. Its produce is highly extolled by 
Pennecuik for making a ' beautyful roof.' But the slate is of a 
coarse description, from which, or some other cause, it has been 
little wrought in recent times. Immediately beyond, also on 
the high ground, overlooking the Plain of Drummelzier, is 
Dreva, formerly a stronghold of one of the Tweedies, but now 
distinguished only for its modern and tasteful farm-steading. 
In the immediate neighbourhood is the British hill-fort of Dreva 


THESE are three parishes, united for ecclesiastical pur- 
poses, with the exceptional circumstance, that a portion 
of Kilbucho is, for like purposes, attached to Culter in 
Lanarkshire. Such arrangements, however, in no respect alter 
the civil status of the parishes. Each in its original dimensions 
remains a distinct parish within the sheriffdom of Peebles for all 
civil purposes whatsoever. 1 United quoad sacra, the parish is 
provided with a central church at Broughton, a neat village of 
modern erection, which may be called the metropolis of the 
district. Consisting of hills, valleys, and level plains, the united 
parish is very varied in outline, the lower parts being under culture, 
and, at some places, finely sheltered and decorated with woods. 
Cut off naturally by its position from Peebles, it has lately been 
brought in connection with that town by means of the branch of 
the Caledonian Railway from Symington and Biggar ; a ready 
communication with Glasgow being at the same time effected. 
Broughton has acquired a degree of notoriety by having been 

1 In the Ordnance Survey Maps, part of Kilbucho is included in Culter, and the 
portion of Culter so enlarged is made to appear as if it were in Peeblesshire. This 
blunder, which is repeated in the Census Tables of 1861, has seemingly arisen from a 
misapprehension of the merely ecclesiastical character of the union of a part of Kilbucho 
with Culter (convenience in going to church). We have to state explicitly, on the 
authority of county officers, that no part of Culter is in Peeblesshire, and no part of 
Kilbucho is in Lanarkshire. Our county map shews the true boundaries. Super- 
ficies of the united parishes, 1 8, 121. 571 acres. Ord. Sur. But this does not include 
1712.894 acres, improperly assigned to Culter. In 1821, population of the united 
parishes, 723. Valued rental of the united parishes in 1863, ^9472, 5.1-. 0</. 


possessed by John Murray, secretary to Prince Charles Edward 
during the rebellion of 1745. His accession to this unfortunate 
affair was not surprising, for he stood in near relationship to 
Sir David Murray, fourth baronet of Stanhope, who perilled 
and lost all in the same rash enterprise. Joining the Prince soon 
after his landing, he conducted his correspondence, wrote his 
proclamations, knew his adherents, and took a prominent part 
in his designs. Throwing herself into the same cause, Mrs 
Murray of Broughton, a lady of great beauty, heightened the 
effect of proclaiming James VIII. at the Cross of Edinburgh, by 
appearing at the ceremony on horseback, decorated with white 
ribbons, with a drawn sword in her hand. Compared with such 
a hopeful beginning, how miserable was the ending of Secretary 
Murray! After the battle of Culloden, he escaped from the 
Highlands, came back to Peeblesshire, and was for a time 
concealed in the house of his brother-in-law, Hunter of Polmood. 
His retreat here being discovered, he was apprehended on the 
morning of the 28th of June 1746, and carried a prisoner by a 
party of dragoons to Edinburgh Castle. To save his life, he 
turned king's evidence, and basely told such particulars as led to 
the condemnation of others. With the stain of treachery and 
apostasy, Murray now sunk into contempt, and as his affairs 
were greatly deranged by fines, expenses, and losses, his condi- 
tion was considerably aggravated by poverty. 1 He died in 1777. 
Having succeeded to the baronetcy of Stanhope, the title, at his 
death, was inherited by his eldest son. It still exists ; but who 
or where the present baronet is seems to be unknown. 

By Secretary Murray, the estate of Broughton was sold to 
James Dickson of Edrom, member of parliament for the Peebles 

1 While in London, in 1747, his wife gave her watch, a gold repeater, to the Rev. 
James Leslie, chaplain to the Earl of Traquair, to sell for her in Paris, and remit her 
the money. Leslie carried the watch to Paris, and there finding that Glengarry, after 
having sold his sword and shoe-buckles, was still in great straits, so compassionated him 
that he pawned the watch for his behoof. Without being able to recover the article, 
Leslie returned a year or two afterwards to London, and there happening to meet 
Murray in a tavern in Holborn, tried to extenuate his conduct Murray said that the 
best thing he could do was ' to make his wife a civil visit ' in order to appease her indig- 
nation. Stewart Papers. 


district of burghs in 1762. Broughton House, formerly the 
residence of Murray, was occupied by Mr Dickson for a few 
years, and while in his possession, it was destroyed by fire, 
through the carelessness of a servant. Shortly afterwards, the 
heirs of Mr Dickson sold the property to that 'giant of the 
bench,' whose ' very name makes people start yet,' l Robert 
Macqueen of Braxfield, Lord Justice-clerk at the period of the 
French Revolution until 1799 ; and remembered for a style of 
jocularity which has happily disappeared from the administration 
of the criminal law in Scotland. 2 Lord Braxfield's estate of 
Broughton, which includes very nearly the whole parish, is 
now possessed by his grandson, Robert Macqueen of Hardington 
House, Lanarkshire ; valued rental in 1863, .1965, 2s. lod. 

Broughton House was never rebuilt. The ruins were taken 
down for the sake of the materials, which were employed in 
building a house at a short distance, called Broughton Place. 3 

1 Memorials of Henry Cockburn, p. 115. 

2 'As Lord Braxfield once said to an eloquent culprit at the bar : "Ye 're a vera 
clever chield, man, but ye wad be nane the waur o' a hanging."' LOCKHART'S Life 
of Scott, chap. 48. 

3 In the neighbourhood of Broughton, there has lately been developed a branch of 
industry, which might very properly be reckoned along with the manufactures that 
have sprung up in the county. We allude to the bacon and ham-curing establishment 
of Mr Adam Bryden, through whose enterprise a great impulse has been given to the 
feeding of swine in a wide district around an instance of what one man may do even 
in untoward circumstances. This meritorious establishment dates from the year 1850, 
but was for some years of little importance, and even struggling for existence. Mr 
Bryden now cures from eight to ten thousand stones annually ; and, for the last eight 
years, all has been sold to one house in London ; a great part, however, being exported 
to the East and West Indies. Mr Bryden collects pork from thirty parishes, cuts up 
every carcass with his own hands the first thing done being to lay the carcass on the 
floor on its back, and to split it up with a sharp axe, after which it is laid on a table, 
and cut into hams and flitches, a process which occupies about six minutes ; it is then 
salted in bins, the proper position of the flitches and hams in the bin being of great 
importance to the proper curing. They remain in the bins for twenty days, during 
which they are several times turned, and new salt is given. They are then washed 
with clear cold water, and prepared for hanging up by trimming and beating into a 
proper shape, which, however, is little needed when they are properly cut at first. 
They are hung in a house appropriated to the purpose, about ten or fifteen feet from 
the floor, and free of each other, and are dried by means of charcoal burned in a 
movable grate, without smoke. They are kept hanging till they are sold. Hams are 
then packed in tierces in clean wheat-straw, and bacon in frames of about one and a 
quarter ton each. So packed up, they are despatched to market, for which the opening 
of the railway gives important facilities. 



On a picturesque knoll, adjoining the village of Broughton, is 
the parish burying-ground open and ill kept at the centre of 
which are the fragments of the old church, sinking gradually 
to decay. Reared amidst the throticJts commemorative of the 
forefathers of the hamlet, stands a neat monumental stone 
over the grave of Hamilton Paul, minister of the parish, 
remembered not less for his genial qualities than his literary 
accomplishments, who died in his eighty-first year in 1854. 

In a north-westerly direction from the village, at the distance 
of about a mile, is the pyramidal mount called Langlaw Hill, 
which, rising to a height of 1 209 feet above the level of the sea, 
exhibits, at its summit, one of the British forts recorded in our 
list. This fort, the great guardian of the west, has a commanding 
outlook westwards, over the parishes of Kilbucho and Skirling. 
At its base, in the direction of the village of Broughton, is the 
property of Burnetland, anciently a possession of the Burnets of 

The parish of Kilbucho forms a kind of valley between 
Cardon Hill on the south and the Hills of Hartree on the north ; 
but the lands are for the most part level, with a drainage of so 
slight inclination towards Biggar Water, that it would not be 
difficult to divert the burns in a westerly direction to the upper 
ward of Clydesdale, of which the district seems naturally a part. 
Armstrong, in speaking of the marshy vale of Thriepland and 
Hartree, situated on the border of the county, observes that ' the 
course of the Clyde might easily be diverted through this 
swamp, to influx its contents with the Tweed.' A portion of the 
waters of the Clyde, in cases of flood, actually does take this 
direction, through the channel of a burn from Westraw Moss ; 
and from natural appearances it seems probable that a branch of 
the Clyde at one time joined Biggar Water, and was poured into 
the Tweed. In modern times, much has been done to draw off 
the water in the marshes, and bring the lands into a condition 
fit for cultivation. Near Thriepland is what is designated the 
Pass of Crosscryne, which, along with Carlops, marked the 
boundary between England and Scotland, as settled by Edward 


Baliol and Edward III., 1334. (See page 67.) The name of 
the parish signifies the cell or chapel of St Begha, an esteemed 
female saint of the thirteenth century, better known in the south 
as St Bees. The manors of Kilbucho and Thriepland are 
referred to in writs of the thirteenth century ; and it will be 
recollected that ' Robert de Threpeland ' figures in the Ragman 
Roll, 1296. On the side of the hill above Thriepland is a large 
hole, said to have been caused by digging for lead or some other 
ores in the reign of James V. ; it has suggested a popular rhyme, 
involving several names of places in the parishes of Kilbucho 
and Glenholm : 

' Glenkirk and Glencotho ; 
The Mains of Kilbucho, 
Blendewan and the Raw, 
Mitchell Hill and the Shaw ; 
But the hole aboon Thriepland 
Wad haud them a'.' 

In the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, and also in this western 
part of Peeblesshire, large tracts of land in early times belonged 
to the family of Fleming, raised to the baronage, 1460, and to 
the earldom of Wigton, 1606. The residence of these Flemings 
was Boghall Castle, an